Uplifting the Safety of Aged Lifts in Hong Kong

Vincent H.K. Chow, C.W. Chan, Gary K.Y. Cheung and James C.Y. Lau

Wednesday 22nd September 2021

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities. There are around 70,000 lifts in operation to transport millions of people in the built environment of the territory. The safety of lifts is dependent on proper periodic examination and maintenance. With rapid technological advancement, modern lifts are equipped with more comprehensive safety devices than the aged ones. Lift modernisation could transform aged lifts to deliver more versatile services with enhanced safety, reliability and ride comfort. The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (“EMSD”) of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“HKSAR”) of the People’s Republic of China acts as the “regulator”, “facilitator” and “promoter” for electrical and mechanical safety in the HKSAR. The EMSD has been actively introducing multidimensional measures for uplifting the safety of aged lifts, thereby enhancing public safety. While paying attention to the progress of lift modernisation works, the EMSD has stepped up the surveillance of aged lifts and requested the responsible persons and registered lift contractors to step up the maintenance of aged lifts. At the same time, the Government has made available financial assistance with appropriate professional support to building owners in need to modernise or replace their aged lifts. In the long run, the EMSD will consider mandating measures for lift modernisation by making reference to relevant experience in other jurisdictions, the enactment and enforcement of similar ordinances in Hong Kong as well as taking into account the impact on the community and the trade. This paper will share the experience, effectiveness and challenges faced when implementing measures to enhance the safety of aged lifts in Hong Kong.

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