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The Investigators
We uncover problems with elevator inspections in Rhode Island
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There are thousands of elevators and escalators in Rhode Island... But only one state official to inspect them all. So the state is relying on outside companies to do the work.

 But is your safety at risk. five percent of the 28-hundred or so elevators in rhode are overdue for inspection. And there may be elevators that haven't been inspected in years because the state doesn't know they exist. Everyday tens of thousands of people use the elevators in largest buildings in the capital city. Elevators at hospitals get a steady stream of users.

Providence city hall elevators are busy... Even the elevtors at the state house get a workout. If you think the state inspects these elevators you're wrong. The state has a chief of the elevator disvision and only one inspector.

"Each company, unit is supposed to have an elevator company under contract that does an annual safety inspection."

The company sends the inspection report to the chief of the elevator division ....and if the company's report says the elevator is ok the state issues a certificate of inspection.

"Sounds almost like a honor system. Ohm, you might say that, you might say that. " "We do take the word of the elevator company on their report that everything was done that , that the safety test was done and that everything was in place."

If a problem is noted on the company inspection report, or if an elevator user makes a complaint, the state elevator unit gets involved to make sure the problem is corrected. Larisa says the inspection companies are reputable....

And there have been no fatal accident or serious injuries on elevators in rhode island in recent memory. He says it's the same with excalators. state law requires inspection certificates be peominently displayed on elevators and escalators. Our check of about 20 elevators showed almost every one has an expired certificate or even worse.

"The inspection certificate is supposed to be on display right here, but this city hall elevator doesn't have one."

Providence city hall is not alone. The heavily used elevators at the garrahy court complex are also minus inspection certificates. Larisa says the elevators at both places have been inspected and and the certificates should be displayed. An elevator at the Hasbro Children's hospital has an outdated detificate and so do the two elevators at the state house.

"We're not going to shut the elevators down because they don't have the certificate posted. We're going to fine them $100 for not posting the certificates."

But Larisa acknowledges no one has ever been fined for failing to post the inspection certificates. Shortly after our inquiries, two letters went out from the division of occupational safety.

This one reminded elevator companies that the state had not received some inspection reports for last year. And this letter said fines would be levied if inspection certificates were not displayed in a timely fashion.

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