Out of Order: Over 60 elevators on Georgia State’s campus are currently expired

Students and faculty at Georgia State have been using expired elevators since the beginning of the semester.

Elevators in housing facilities, classroom buildings, the Student Center, the University Center, the library and M-Deck parking lot went past their expiration date in August this year. Patton Hall elevators expired earlier in February, and constant breakdowns and malfunctions have left students frustrated with the lack of inspections.

“This is probably why nothing works. People aren’t doing their job.” freshman and Piedmont Hall resident Siana Smith said.

When notified by The Signal about the 9-month inspections due for Patton Hall, Fire Safety Manager Jennifer McWhorter said that the Elevator Inspection Section for the State of Georgia are running behind on their inspections.

“Georgia State has no control of when they will arrive to campus to inspect elevators,” McWhorter said.

When The Signal tried to contact the Fire Marshalls, who are in charge of all elevator inspections in the State of Georgia, we were informed that the people in charge of inspections are rarely in their offices.

Meanwhile, the elevators continue to break down. Signs reading, “This elevator is out of service” and “Elevator Out of Order Until Further Notice” have become a common theme on campus elevators.

“When an elevator is down it takes 3 times longer to get where you need to go. It’s frustrating,” freshman Penny Hoang said.

Elevators in Kell Hall lack an inspection certificate. A sign informs users of the elevators that information on the inspections is located in the manager’s office. One of the elevators in Library South lacks an inspection certificate as well. According to escalator and elevator laws in Georgia, a certificate of inspection is required to be placed in a “permanently mounted frame with a clear glass of plastic removable cover” in all elevators.

A few elevators in the University Commons, a housing facility that hous- es 2,000 Georgia State students, have inspection certificates that are covered with stickers, disallowing students from viewing the inspection dates on their elevators. However, some students believe that the facilities department has maintained the elevators in the University Commons well despite the inspection expiration.

“I think we shouldn’t cover (the inspection certificates). Students should be able to feel safe about the elevators. They seem to work fine though,” University Commons resident Josh Pearson said. “(The elevators) have been contained but they may cause problems in the future,” another University Commons resident, Okechukwu Eme-Ak-wari said.

Other students were more alarmed about the lack of inspections and saw it as a serious hazard.

“Not only are the elevators being out of certification a hazard to students, but it as well is a violation of civil code. These codes are put in place to protect the people who use the elevators. It is important to keep the elevators up to date on their certification,” University Commons resident Nick Rizza said. “With hundreds of people riding the elevators it’s extremely important that they are properly inspected so that no one will be injured or at risk when using the elevators.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, elevators and escalators seriously injure 17,000 and kill 30 people in the United States every year. Elevators count for 90 percent of these deaths and 60 percent of the injuries.

According to a study done by the Center for Construction Research Training, many elevator related deaths could have been prevented if proper inspections had taken place. Many deaths occur due to improper elevator controller wiring which can lead to workers getting caught between the elevator doors as the elevator continues to move. Another problem is broken interlocks. Interlocks are intended to prevent el- evator doors from opening unless the elevator car is on the same floor. They also ensure that all doors are closed before the car can move. Malfunctioning interlocks can lead to passengers or workers on the elevator falling into the shaft which often leads to death.

Some students expressed fear when asked their opinion on the elevators in their housing facilities being expired.

“I thought I was the only one who noticed that. I just thought it was scary,” Patton Hall resident Sarah Cho said.

Patton Hall houses 325 freshmen who are forced to use the two elevators that have not been inspected for more than 21 months. When they broke down on Oct. 3, one of the many days since the beginning of the semester, students expressed annoyance at being unable to use the stairs, which are only utilized in the case of an emergency.

“We can’t use the stairs and we’re on the second floor. Most of the time there’s only one elevator to use,” freshman and Patton Hall resident David Andriate said. “It’s a serious architectural flaw, the fact that there is no stair access from the main lobby and that you’re forced to take the elevator. When one elevator is down, you have a building of 325 people relying on one elevator,” another freshman and hall resident Joey de St. Aubin said.

University Housing refused to comment on the situation. The facilities division of Georgia State was unavailable for comment.