Unlike older times, the presence of high-rise buildings in cities is no longer out of the ordinary, nor is the use of lifts. But when it comes to lift-safety regulations, there are many question marks.
So far, most state governments except Haryana have had a lackluster response to the issue of passenger safety in lifts.
The Haryana government has exhibited foresightand demonstrated that it is the responsibility of every government (state, center) to adopt measures to ensure the public’s safety. Outpacing other states, it has recently amended the “Haryana Lifts and Escalators Act, 2008”.
After the changes in the Act, the owners of the high-rise buildings (above 15 meters in height) are obligated to install Emergency Rescue Device (ERD) in their lifts, ensuring no mishap happens due to people getting stuck in lifts.
The amendment is made keeping in view the safety of the passengers stuck in the lift during a sudden power failure. When grid power stops, the lift halts its operations with a jerk, and all the lights go off. This situation creates panic and confusion and even triggers elevatophobia (fear of riding elevators). In extreme situations, people also experience shortness of breath, dry mouth, dizziness, heart failure, and so on.
What is Haryana Lifts and Escalators (Amendment) Act, 2020?
In the past, all the owners of high-rise buildings and commercial projects were mandated to use ARD (Automatic Rescue Devices) in their lifts.
ARD takes at least 30 seconds to 1 minute to come into action after the lift stops. During this time, passengers worry for their dear life. ARD takes the lift car to the nearest floor and opens the doors for the exit—and not to the passengers’ destination.
Even with an ARD fitted into the elevator system, lift occupants had to face the jerks and metal grinding noise, which can be terrifying for the passengers.
Haryana Government is the first government in India to take action on these safety issues faced by the general public. It makes an amendment to the existing Haryana Lifts and Escalators Act, 2008, which is now called the “Haryana Lifts and Escalators (Amendment) Act, 2020.”
The amendment in the act makes it mandatory for the building owners to have an ERD device integrated into their building’s escalators. No lift in Haryana state can operate without integrating ERD technology.
What does this amendment mean for the general public?
By integrating ERD devices in lifts, commercial buildings such as hotels, shopping malls, hospitals, etc., can enhance the comfort of their visitors/clients/shoppers by providing them with a jerk-free operation.
Unlike ARD, ERD is a powerful backup system that does not stop the lift in the case of power failure. The passengers don’t even realize whether the lift is on the ERD power or grid power and reach their destination without stoppage or experiencing petrifying jerks.
An ERD integrated lift means a pregnant lady using the lift won’t get late for her doctor’s appointment, a child riding the lift alone won’t cry out for life, a disabled person won’t feel helpless, or a businessperson won’t miss their important meeting/appointment,
The lifts operate normally, stop, and open the doors at the occupants’ destination. ERD can provide backup for a minimum of fifteen minutes and a maximum of two days, depending on the specification of the ERD installed in the lift system.
The old laws were incapable of fixing responsibilities and blame and identifying the culprits in the events of any mishap that caused undue pain and injury to the lift occupants. Now the old can hold the owners responsible for their ignorance.
This amendment must be an eye opener for other states who have not taken any concrete actions and are waiting for a disaster to happen before they enforce Lifts and Escalator safety laws. The 2020 amendment holds value because it came when no other state government thought about this issue risking people’s lives. Finally, it comes as a reminder for other state governments to give paramount importance to the safety of their public.