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Proposed bill would update Ohio elevator laws

In this Friday, April 26, 2019 photo, Deane Sager, of Louisville, uses a Histopad tablet to view scenes from operations on the western front of World War II at the The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, in Dayton, Ohio. French-developed technology making its U.S. debut this month will allow new views of the D-Day invasion 75 years ago that began the liberation of France and helped end World War II. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton begins its D-Day commemorations May 13 with military-veteran paratroopers dropping from a vintage plane flying overhead, new exhibits and movies about the June 6, 1944, attack on heavily fortified German positions guarding the coastline. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Special to the Legal News

Published: August 6, 2019

Public safety is the watchword for a bipartisan bill to revise the laws that govern operation of elevators in the Buckeye State.

In addition to modernizing this section of state law, the bill seeks to provide for the safety of installers, maintainers and users of elevators and other conveyances.

Filed as Senate Bill 127, the measure would enact an entirely new chapter of state law - based on National Elevator Industry Inc.'s model elevator law - that would regulate individuals and entities performing construction, testing, maintenance, alteration, and repair of conveyances, more commonly known as elevators, escalators and moving walkways.

"Taking elevators is a regular occurrence in our lives," said Loveland Sen. Joe Uecker, a Republican and joint sponsor of the bill. "We go about our days not considering that malfunctions can cause serious injuries to riders.

"SB 127 seeks to codify industry standards and set licensure qualifications to help ensure the safety of both elevator riders and workers."

According to the proposal, an elevator mechanic must have either at least three years of work experience in the elevator industry as verified by current and previous employers licensed to do business in Ohio or satisfactory completion of a written examination administered by the Division of Industrial Compliance or an approved testing agency on the most recent referenced codes and standards.

Implementation of the licensure requirement is so that only qualified mechanics and contractors install and service these conveyances, Uecker said.

"A licensed elevator mechanic must work under the direct supervision of a licensed contractor, (while) an elevator inspector will be licensed upon meeting the current Standards for the Qualifications of Elevator Inspectors."

License renewal is to be conditional, upon completion of continuing education of at least eight hours of instructions every year, the bill stipulated.

Additionally, SB 127 would establish an insurance requirement for elevator contractors and inspectors not employed by the state of Ohio with general liability coverage of at least $1,000,000 for injury or death and at least $500,000 for property damage.

Mechanics and contractors would be required to comply with the state fire prevention and building code, according to the legislation, with the maximum fine raised to $1,500 in addition to the possibility of imprisonment.

"Our goal is to ensure the safety of the public and of those who install elevators," said fellow joint sponsor Sen. Kenny Yuko, D- Richmond Heights. "The best way to do this is to ensure that all elevators are installed and maintained by licensed professionals."

SB 127 would create the Elevator Safety Review Board, which would be authorized to create regulations to implement the American Society of Mechanical Engineers safety codes, consult with engineering authorities, grant exceptions and variances and investigate alleged violations of the Model Elevator Law, among other tasks.

The nine-member board, including the state commerce director or a designee, would comprise representatives from Board of Building Standards, a major elevator manufacturing company, an elevator servicing company, the architectural design or elevator consulting profession the general public, a municipality, building owners or managers and a conveyance services provider from the building trade.

Five fellow senators have signed as cosponsors of the bill, which had not been scheduled a second hearing at time of publication.

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