Safety of Home Elevators Under Investigation



The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has launched an investigation of residential elevators and lifts, which the agency estimates were involved in 1,600 injuries during 2011 and 2012.

In a statement today, the CPSC said the probe followed reports of “children becoming entrapped in the gap of residential elevators, tragically leading to fatalities and serious injuries.’’

Agency staff members received a briefing in March about hazards of the machines, which are found in thousands of upscale single-family houses, as well as in apartment buildings. Evidence was provided by the family of Jacob Helvey who, as 3-year-old boy in 2010, suffered brain damage in an elevator accident at his Georgia home. He was smashed after becoming trapped in the narrow space between the outside entry door and the accordion-style inside door that encloses the moving elevator car.

The issue was previously reported by Safety Research & Strategies,  a consulting and advocacy group.

The CPSC said it had no breakdown among the 1,600 estimated victims on the type or severity of the injuries, or how many of those hurt were children. In fact, in an interview, CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson dialed back the agency’s statement somewhat, saying he didn’t know if there was just one, or multiple, fatalities.

The 1,600-injury estimate was extrapolated from injury reports provided to the CPSC by hospital emergency rooms that treated people hurt in elevator accidents.

Wolfson said the agency, under federal law, was barred from naming the elevator manufacturers under investigation.

In its statement, the CPSC said it “has an active and ongoing compliance investigation regarding the safety of residential elevators and the entrapment hazard they can present.  While CPSC investigates the role and responsibilities of manufacturers and installers when it comes to the safety of residential elevators, owners of residential elevators should take steps to ensure children do not have unsupervised access to in-home elevators.”


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About the author

Stuart Silverstein is assistant editor at FairWarning.

One comment to “Safety of Home Elevators Under Investigation”

  1. Cindy

    With all due respect to every child who suffers pain and harm of any kind, my heart goes out to them. They are loved.

    I agree, there is an enormous number of poorly designed, unregulated manufacturing using unregulated substandard raw materials and ingredents with under or no testing of products from around the world flooding onto the shelves of every retail outlet in America.
    But first, what human in their right minds, need a home that requires an elevator? Really.

    However, after following many of the incidents reported on many of the advocate sites, I have to ask a basic questions.
    1. Where was the proper adult supervision at the time of the incidents? Maybe many of the accidents could have been less severe or avoided all together?
    2. Is a long and costly lawsuit, involving dozens of highly paid attorneys who prefer the largest settlement amount and shutting down the American manufacturer?
    3. Why aren’t the American people investigating, bringing suit and shutting down or stopping the faulty products from other countries?
    4. How many deaths, serious injury or illness are due to the negligent foreign products?

    The American government needs to quit financially supporting every country and put the billions of American money back into our America. Shutting down American factories, manufacturing and industries because of the lawsuits of faulty products, only escalates the poverty, unemployment, crime, abuse and despair of the American people and our country.
    Start with the ability to properly educate, train and implement manufacturing of quality inspected and tested products being produced in America by Americans would solve the issue of an unnecessary death of a child due to faulty products. America would once again become self-sufficient, self-reliant and worthy of the Nation we once were.
    This is just my opinion.

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