China / Society

Elevator safety to become top priority

By XU WEI ( Updated: 2015-04-27 20:17

A campaign to supervise the use and maintenance of elevators nationwide has been launched as authorities try to prevent more accidents caused by old equipment.

The one-year campaign is aimed at identifying old elevators and removing potential hazards to prevent accidents, said Li Jing, a spokeswoman for the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

China had some 3.6 million elevators in use by the end of last year and the number continues to grow at a rate of 20 percent annually, according to the watchdog.

There were 48 accidents last year responsible for the death of 36 people, the regulator said.

"The number of aged elevators is rising each year, and a large number are in a state of poor maintenance," Li said. Another major problems lies in the fact that many elevators do not have a party responsible for their maintenance and usage, she added.

There are still a large number of accidents in which people are trapped annually. In Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, for instance, more than 14,600 people were trapped before being rescued last year.

A spot check by the authority found major safety hazards in at least 7 percent of old elevators that have been in service for 15 years or more.

Zhang Hongwei, an official with the special equipment inspection bureau under the authority, said a key target of the campaign will be aged elevators, especially those that have never undergone maintenance.

The country is to unveil a national maintenance standard by the end of this year, he said.

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