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WARNING: CPSC Issues Warning Concerning Potential Deadly Gap In Home Elevators!

Yesterday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a dire warning to those who own or visit homes with elevators. With the vacation season now in full swing and noting the popularity of renting a vacation home, many with elevators, the CPSC warned of a known deadly gap between the elevator door and the exterior (hoistway) door on many home elevators. Under the Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators (ASME A17.1-2016), elevator manufacturers and installers should never allow a gap greater than four inches deep between the two doors. The reality is that many home elevators do not meet the code requirements and are essentially a ticking time bomb. If the gap is too deep, children can become entrapped between the two doors, resulting in horrific injuries or death when the elevator moves.

Having represented families and individuals around the country who have lost loved ones or suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the deadly gap, CKF is all too familiar with this defect as well as the affordable “fixes” that could prevent these deadly tragedies. The CPSC was first warned about the risk of entrapment through CKF’s efforts and as part of a lawsuit we filed on behalf of our clients, Jacob Helvey and his parents, as well as through the lawsuit we filed on behalf of the Hartz family. In our efforts to expose this safety issue, we previously filed a petition for a recall with the CPSC, argued our case in D.C., and have and continue to represent families whose kids have been catastrophically injured or killed in home elevator accidents.

These tragedies and the deadly gap can easily be prevented with the use of space guards on the back of the exterior hoistway door, or with the use of detection devices that disable the elevator when a child or other object is detected in the gap. As recommended by the CPSC, if there is any question concerning the safety of a home elevator, consumers should immediately lock and disable the elevator, including locking the exterior hoistway door. Homeowners with a home that has an elevator, should immediately contact a qualified inspector to examine the elevator for any potential hazards, including the deadly gap.

As previously reported by the Washington Post in its investigation into this issue, the elevator industry has known about the entrapment problem for more than 70 years and was also fully aware of the simple and affordable fix, but did nothing. Corporate memos dating back to at least 1943 highlighted the hazard. However, it wasn’t until December 2020, that the CPSC issued its first-ever safety recall related to this issue, recalling roughly 5,000 home elevators manufactured by Otis Elevator Co. While the recall was a huge first step towards forcing the elevator industry as whole to do what is right, hundreds of thousands of dangerous home elevators remain out there, posing a risk to children. More is needed and we will continue to fight to hold the elevator industry accountable and for a national recall of all of these dangerous elevators.

National Elevator Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one were seriously hurt in a home elevator accident, contact the lawyers at Cash Krugler Fredericks for a consultation about your case. Let our experienced elevator accident attorneys handle your case while you and your family focus on healing and recovery.

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