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Georgia can’t yet track elevators that are overdue for inspection

Safety concerns have gained new attention after the death of a 18-year-old athlete JauMarcus...
Safety concerns have gained new attention after the death of a 18-year-old athlete JauMarcus McFarland in the accident at the end of August after an Atlanta high-rise elevator went into free fall.
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:25 AM CDT
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ATLANTA - Government regulators in Georgia have no idea how many of the state’s 34,000 elevators, escalators and moving sidewalks are overdue for inspections.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the problem is in a decade-old database that cannot produce lists of those scheduled or overdue for inspection.

Officials at the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner say $440,000 worth of software installed in July can do that, but it will be next July before they can produce such a list.

When they asked if data from the old system could be moved into the new one, the company that designed the first database said just starting the process would cost $100,000.

Safety concerns have gained new attention after the death of a 18-year-old athlete JauMarcus McFarland in the accident at the end of August after an Atlanta high-rise elevator went into free fall.

The family says they plan to file a wrongful-death lawsuit.

The property manager has said the weight capacity of the elevator was 3,000 pounds, but the 16 athletes who were inside pushed that limit to nearly 4,000 pounds.

When the Georgia elevator company was approached about an overdue inspection on the elevator, the response was that it’s the responsibility of the state to do inspections and many were not done in 2020 because of COVID-19.

Three football players for the school, including McFarland, were taking the elevator on their way to practice when witnesses say the elevator felt as though it was beginning to fall. The elevator stopped and opened at the third floor, with two of the players getting out.

When McFarland tried to exit, the elevator fell. The 18-year-old was crushed, trapped between the top of the elevator and the floor of the shaft for nearly an hour before he was recovered.

The state is still investigating the incident.

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