After a Decade and Two Deaths, the City Council Gets Serious About Elevator Safety


The hearing room was full and the overflow room was overflowing at the New York City Council’s offices at 250 Broadway this afternoon. Maybe it was the fact that this was the first elevator safety hearing since two New Yorkers lost their lives in elevators in the past year. Maybe it was the fact that this was the first oversight hearing on elevator safety since 2003.

This in a city where most people live and work in high-rise, all serviced by some 60,000 elevators.

The main issue of the afternoon was two new elevator safety bills proposed by the council: one that would require existing elevators to be furnished with more safety devices and another that would require elevator workers to be licensed.

“We require licensing of our plumbers. We require licensing of our electricians. And the lack of elevator licensing is a major loophole,” said councilmember James Vacca, a sponsor of the licensing bill. “It is also a threat to the safety of millions of New Yorkers.” Read More