L.A. Controller Report Finds City Needs to up its Tracking Elevator and Escalator Safety

Los AngelesL.A. Controller Ron Galperin today released an audit of the City’s Department of Building & Safety elevator and escalator inspections, along with recommendations to improve reporting and public safety.

The City inspects more than 23,000 elevators, escalators, moving sidewalks and wheelchair lifts annually. A relatively modest 150 accidents are reported annually — mostly due to escalator passengers losing their balance and falling. Nearly 60% of these escalator accidents occurred at LAX — which sees about 80 million passengers annually.

While the audit found the overall inspection of elevators, escalators and other so-called conveyances largely effective, there are several areas that need improvement — including inadequate record keeping, a consistent backlog of annual re-inspections, uncollected inspection fees, high rates of overtime and a need for the City to better advertise how passengers can report safety concerns.

“Our City’s inspection and oversight of more than 23,000 elevators, escalators and other people-movers is largely safe thanks to diligent testing and well-trained inspectors,” said Controller Galperin. “However, the City can do more to reduce accidents, improve available information for the public and reduce overtime costs. We want to make sure that Los Angeles residents and visitors have a safe journey every time they ride an elevator, escalator or other people-mover.”

Galperin also recommended that passengers practice some common sense precautions — like not extending hands or feet when elevator doors are closing, holding onto escalator handles and holding on to children on an escalator.

Follow L.A. Controller Ron Galperin at @LAController on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.