Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Elevator Inspectors Detail Ups, Downs of Job

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Elevator Inspectors Detail Ups, Downs of Job

Article excerpt

Most people take it for granted that they will be safe when they step into an elevator cab in an office building or onto an escalator at a shopping center, said Jim Burrell, a city elevator inspector.

"There's so much into making these things run properly that most people don't ever think about it when they step into an elevator," Burrell said.

Oklahoma City inspectors cited 117 property owners over the past year for not having a valid elevator permit and 67 owners for not having an up-to-date elevator inspection, according to data The Journal Record compiled from city records.

Over the past year, city inspectors moved to immediately shut down elevators for unsafe conditions 19 times, according to city records.

Some of the elevators in Bricktown that Burrell inspects date back to the 1920s.

One of Burrell's most taxing properties to inspect is the Devon Energy Center, with more than 50 elevators and escalators, including the parking garages.

Some of the most common problems Burrell sees are elevator cab emergency phones that are not answered by an attendant or don't work at all.

"People don't realize that they have to have someone answering that line 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Burrell said.

The city has recorded two accidents involving elevators in the city over the time period of about a year.

On Oct. 24, a man reported that an elevator door at the Oklahoma Civic Center Music Hall hit him on the head and neck. City inspectors moved to shut the elevator down after it was discovered that the door was not working properly.

In an incident that garnered attention from local and national media, three students became trapped underneath an elevator car at the Classen School of Advanced Studies in November 2011. The school had not had the elevator inspected since 2009 at the time of the incident, records show.

Commercial property owners who operate elevators are required to schedule an annual inspection with a service technician that is overseen by a city inspector, said Meleah Kyle, who handles permitting for the city. Every five years property owners are required to do a load test to ensure that an elevator can handle its maximum weight capacity. …

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