PITTSBURGH - In Pennsylvania, elevators are not required to have any kind of inspection sticker posted inside, but they are required to be checked.
11 Investigates found lapsed inspections at popular locations, like the Allegheny County Courthouse and jail, and Heinz Field. A list obtained by 11 investigates showed all had elevators that failed to pass crucial state safety inspections, meaning those elevators lacked proper certification.
That list showed hundreds of elevators across Western Pennsylvania missing inspection certifications. Each year, hundreds of people find themselves stuck in elevators. City of Pittsburgh EMS crews responded to more than 240 calls in the first eleven months of 2017.
"I think that's pretty ridiculous. Anything could happen," said Sydney Winston, who has been stuck in an elevator before.
The list 11 Investigates looked at came from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. They said that in Pennsylvania, it's the responsibility of building owners to hire private inspectors to check elevators. With a list so long, 11 Investigates' Catherine Varnum asked why elevators without the proper paperwork aren't being shut down, and went to Harrisburg to find out.
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"It does take us time to get to some of those locations," said Joe Marchioni, Jr., the assistant director of elevator safety in Pennsylvania.
Marchioni said part of the problem is that there aren't enough state inspectors to get the job done. In fact, there are only 25 inspectors covering all of Pennsylvania. He said the best thing you can do is ask the building to see its inspection certificate.
11 Investigates reached out to the owners of some of the major buildings on the list, including the Allegheny County Courthouse and jail. A county spokesperson said, "The majority of our elevators are inspected and certifications current. In the case of each of these, the paperwork from the third-party inspection company is being forwarded to the state. The inspections were done, but the paperwork being submitted is being remedied now.”
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