Tom DiNapoli’s state audit shows city needs to improve elevator safety

Bernadette Hogan

New York Post

Oct 30, 2019

Two months after a fatal elevator accident in Manhattan, a state audit revealed that the Department of Buildings has not done elevator re-inspections.

The new audit from the Comptroller’s Office in Albany shows that the city isn’t doing all it could to improve elevator safety and comply with safety regulations concerning the more than 1 million buildings and construction sites in New York City.

There are more than 70,000 elevators and related devices.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office reveals that the Department of Buildings couldn’t provide evidence that its inspectors were completing thorough reviews.

Elevators that fall under DOB’s authority must be inspected and tested annually, either by DOB inspectors or private contractors. The city’s Housing Authority can perform inspections and tests in its buildings. Likewise, the MTA inspects and tests its elevators.

“Failure to inspect elevators can be a lethal problem,” says DiNapoli. “Last year, my auditors raised a red flag about poor elevator inspections across New York City, but shockingly, the problems persist. New York City’s Department of Buildings needs to immediately address the problems we found.”

Also, they couldn’t prove that re-inspections were thoroughly made after shoddy inspectors were reprimanded in last year’s audit, where the Comptroller’s Office found nearly 15,000 inspections that should have been completed were fudged. City contractors were fined.

The Department of Buildings responded, “We have taken the Comptroller’s input seriously and fired two of the inspection contractors named in the original audit.” DOB also says that it has increased audits of private contractors, required greater training for them, and raised penalties for failure to perform.