Millions of people in New York rely on elevators to get safely to and from work and home. It is one of the few states that doesn’t require people working on elevators to receive any education, training, or licensing by the state. However, last week the Senate passed legislation to reduce unsafe elevator hazards and help protect New York elevator riders and the people who work on them. The bill, sponsored by Senator Diane Savino, will create the New York State Elevator Safety and Standards Board, and establish license requirements and standards for elevator contractors, mechanics, and inspectors.
The Elevator Safety Act had been introduced 5 times without any luck. This is the first time the bill has made it to the Senate floor, let alone secured approval from the legislative body. If the Assembly passes the measure, New York’s licensing requirements would fall in line with the majority of the country. In 36 states and the District of Columbia, elevator mechanics are required by law to be licensed, which typically involves the completion of an accredited program that can run as long as five years.
To obtain a mechanic’s license, under the requirements of the bill, workers must complete a union apprenticeship, or complete the National Association of Elevator Contractors’ Certified Elevator Technician program or other approved training programs.
“There’s a path to this license for anyone working in the industry, “said Michael Halpin, of the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 1.
Within the first year of the bill becoming a law, mechanics who have worked on elevators for at least 4 years can apply for a license. The bill would also requires mechanics to participate in eight hours of continuing education every year in order to renew their licenses. The state Department of Labour and the city’s Department of Buildings will be responsible for issuing statewide and city-based licenses, respectively.
The bill also creates a nine-member Elevator Safety and Standards Board, which will oversee the implementation and enforcement of the new training requirements. Under the legislation, the DOB must maintain a list of licensed mechanics, contractors and inspectors and make it available on the agency’s website. The DOB currently doesn’t have any record of the number of mechanics operating in the city.
The measure still awaits approval from the state Assembly. The legislative session ends June 19.
Senate Bill, S.4080-B, will:
- Require the licensing of persons engaged in the design, construction, inspection, maintenance, alteration, and repair of elevators and other automated people moving devices.
- Create the elevator contractor license, elevator mechanics license and elevator inspector license.
- Establish the New York State Elevator Safety and Standards Board which will consist of nine (9) members of which three (3) each are appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the Assembly and Temporary President of the Senate.