October 21, 2014

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Report says Cleveland elevator inspectors are behind schedule

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CLEVELAND — The city has fallen months and sometimes years behind schedule in its inspections of thousands of elevators and wheelchair lifts, a newspaper reported Saturday.
Seventy-nine percent of the city’s 3,800 active elevators have not been inspected since 2005, violating Cleveland’s law that calls for annual safety checks, according to a Plain Dealer analysis of the city’s inspection database from March.
Hundreds of elevators and lifts went unchecked for as long as five years, The Plain Dealer said. Inspectors found violations in nearly one of three elevators that were checked.
State law requires elevators to be checked twice a year and wheelchair lifts once a year by state inspectors. Cleveland uses its home-rule power to set its own standards and do its own inspections.
The city budgets for five elevator inspectors and a chief elevator inspector.
A wheelchair lift that the newspaper said was more than six months overdue for an inspection by the city was cited by the Cuyahoga County coroner in the death of an 84-year-old Parma woman May 7.
Jeanne von Sternberg died of head injuries the coroner attributed to her fall from the lift at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ on April 29.
A report filed with the city by the Cleveland church states that the lift abruptly stopped, lurched and tipped, “causing Jeanne to fall off the unit onto the floor.”