According to Indian news agency DNA (Daily News & Analysis, an 18 year-old girl was crushed to death Wednesday, January 9, 2013, after she entered the hoistway, apparently to sweep the pit. The report is somewhat unusual in that it specifically describes that the motor of the “old lift” somehow crashed down on top of her, fatally crushing her. The victim died at the scene. An employee at the building who was not named described the building as “dilapidated”. A comment on that article also notes that there may have been other similar incidents at that location. Read the full story, published January 10, 2013.
Incidents like this highlight why it is important that access to elevator pits, hoistways, and machine spaces is restricted to elevator personnel only. It is not yet clear how the victim was able to access the pit, however, the original news report indicates that it was apparently part of her “sweeping duty” to sweep the pit. In the United States, building maintenance and housekeeping staff are generally prohibited by code from entering these restricted spaces. Cleaning of the pit should be part of the maintenance control program followed by the elevator contractor during periodic preventive maintenance visits.