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I-Team: Lawmakers Look at Making Elevators Safer

WBRE/WYOU-TV) How safe are the elevators we ride?  Are they properly inspected?

 Those are just a few questions that have been raised by state lawmakers in the aftermath of the 2016  death of a Luzerne County corrections officer who fell down an elevator shaft during an attack by an inmate.  Our Lead I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick has the story.

July 18th, 2016..it is a day that many people in our region will never forget. Corrections officer Kristopher Moules was attacked on the fifth floor by an inmate. Both Moules and the inmate banged against the elevator door. The bottom of the doors gave way. The inmate pulled Moules into the shaft. Both fell to their deaths.

Enter State Senator Lisa Baker. She and other area lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 934.

"We started to discover that there really wasn't the type of oversight we should have. There was a board in place that rarely met and didn't really have the power or the tools or the appropriate people on it." Said Senator Baker.

The State Department of Labor and Industry is responsible for enforcing safety in elevators. But Baker and other lawmakers believe that the board is simply not adequately informed on potential safety issues with elevators.

“If you don't have reports if you're not analyzing data to see other trends and these specific problems with certain types of elevators there are things that proactively we can address,"  Said Senator Baker.

 

The proposed legislation would create a new nine-member elevator safety board that would have more authority and time to research incidents involving elevators across the state. Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri thinks it would be a good first step. The prison elevator had passed all of its safety inspections at the time of Moules's death..

 

"The county has allocated over $300,000 in the past year just for elevator maintenance and upkeep. it’s something we have to do and we want to do. Every business has to do it. it's a very big issue for the county. When it comes to safety we put safety first," Said Pedri

 


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