Expired elevator certificates invite concern
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 00:09
Elevators around campus, specifically Garrigus Residence Hall, have been displaying expired safety permits despite inspections being up to date.
Through further investigation, it was found that both the Anna M. Snow and Nellie L. Wilson halls in South Campus did not have their permits visibly displayed. Additionally, the elevator certificate for the Center of Health, Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) in the J. Ray Ryan building had also read as expired.
The Connecticut State Department of Construction Services’ Bureau of Elevators requires all elevators to be inspected every 18 months, and to have the certificate “posted conspicuously in the car or cage or on the platform of the elevator.”
Director of Utility Services and Energy Management Ronald Gaudet took responsibility, but said that UConn was operating under safety standards.
“We have 40 elevators with the Department of Residential Life, 110 with the academic departments, and 30 on the regional campuses. Kids like taking the certificates out, so we normally have to replace them a couple of times a year and it becomes an administrative hardship. It’s $350 every time someone rips out a certificate holder,” he said.
Gaudet recently confirmed with the state elevator inspector that the university was cooperating with the law.
“Every summer, we check with Otis and the state elevator inspector to address infractions before everybody comes around. It takes all summer – we just finished up last week. Not to minimize the issue that the appropriate certificate should be in the elevator, but he confirmed that all of our equipment is up to snuff and have current certificates issued for it. He only found a few elevators with certificates missing or posted as not current,“ said Gaudet.
The sanctions for the university would have been a relative slap on the wrist, with first-time offences carrying a maximum fine of $100. For subsequent offences, the penalty is $500 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.
Juan Carlos Varela, an 8th-semester finance major living in Garrigus, was outraged by the findings.
“It’s a very irresponsible move from the university. Many people use those elevators daily because they trust it’s safe. They don’t always pay attention to the date on the certificates, but this doesn’t mean they don’t care about the safety of it. The university should give the students the respect they deserve by always taking care of their health and security,’ Valera said.
Andrew Ta, an 8th-semester business major, was not pleased with the maintenance of the elevators.
“Although it is my first time living in Garrigus, it is a bit disappointing to know that it’s one of the only residence halls which seem to not be operating safely. When people move into the top floors at the start of the school, they do not have a choice but to use the elevators while moving all their things in. During semester, it’s not only a hazard, but an inconvenience,” Ta said.
However, Joakim Pettersson, a 5th-semester political science major living in Snow Hall, was unperturbed.
“I had no idea that the permit was not displayed, but then again, I couldn’t care less. I use the stairs anyway,” he said.
Facilities requested that students make a work order at (860) 486-3113 when they see a missing or incorrect certificate.