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Elevator bureau falls down on the job

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After reading a state report on North Carolina elevator inspections, you might want to take the stairs.

The Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau, which operates under the N.C. Department of Labor, has failed to adequately inspect elevators and follow up on violations. And the bureau's failure to assess and collect penalties cost the state at least $143,000 in lost revenue in just one year. That's merely an estimate because the penalties aren't sufficiently tracked, and inspectors can collect penalties on the spot, which allows room for fraud.

In addition, the bureau has failed to:

• document, assess and collect the penalties;

• document the penalty amounts that have been reduced;

• track forms indicating which violations have been corrected.

In some cases, the bureau has not complied with state law in reducing and waiving penalties. For example, a $25,200 penalty was erroneously waived in 2010 for an elevator company field office that already received a waiver in 2008 for the same types of violations.

So while some elevators may not have a working emergency phone, you can bet they all have a placard emblazoned with the smiling face of state Labor Secretary Cherie Berry. Those are inside every elevator in the state.


13,138 Elevators inspected by the state Elevator Bureau in 2012

30,300 Number of violations

1,150 Elevators that had the same violations for at least two consecutive years

436 Elevators found in violation that had follow-up inspections (only 3%)

36 Number of elevators for which penalties were assessed to the companies

Source: N.C. Auditor


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