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Elevator Inspection Shortage in Hawaii

Elevators are significant in daily life, even if you don’t use them every day. You may not even realize how many elevators are crucial to a person’s ability to move around certain buildings and their own homes. As of July 2008, the United States had more than 600,000 elevators installed in all areas, whether or not they were operational or not. Consider the number of commercial elevators being installed daily and add four years – you can see the growth and importance of elevators swelling across the country.

However, as we have mentioned, some states are having difficulty keeping up with elevator repairs, which are important for the safety of cabin passengers. One of the worst situations being reported about is in Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Reporter:

“Some 4,000 elevators in Hawaii are overdue for safety inspections and to clear the backlog, the state must double the number of inspectors now on staff, lawmakers heard today. But hiring new inspectors will be difficult because the starting salary of a state inspector is $42,000, while their counterparts in the private sector are paid $50 per hour and earn as much as $110,00 annually before overtime.”

Due to the economy and various other factors, these repairs and inspections haven’t been completed, but Hawaii lawmakers realize how important this work is to the disabled community. The Legislature in Hawaii is going to be asked to approve increases in inspection and permit fees, so that safety and finances can be handled appropriately in years to come. Unfortunately, other areas need work as well:

“A similar backlog of safety inspections of boilers has also built up around the state and the same pay disparity applies, said Keith Rudolph, chief boiler inspector.”

Thankfully, some authorities said that safety is not a problem in most elevators at the moment, there is merely just a backlog to deal with:

“Elevators and boilers around the state are regularly serviced and maintained by their owners and there has not been an elevator-related fatality here since 1992. The department is working with private industry and with the public employees labor union to impose new fees which will flow into a special fund that will increase salaries for state inspectors, witnesses told the committee.”

The department is also exploring the possibility of turning over inspections to private third parties, but that solution would require the state to pay the higher prevailing wages in the private sector, witnesses said.



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