ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia government regulators have no idea how many of the state’s 34,000 elevators, escalators and moving sidewalks are overdue for annual inspections because a jury-rigged database cannot create lists of them, a newspaper reports.
An elevator that collapsed Aug. 31, killing an 18-year-old, was more than a year overdue for a safety inspection. His family said that was a clue that it was unsafe. The building's owners were cited and fined.
“Where else is this happening?” state Rep. Matthew Wilson, who sits on the House Insurance Committee and plans to run for insurance commissioner in 2022, asked the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Because this isn’t the only building in Georgia where the elevator inspection is out of date. And what are we doing to prevent additional tragedies just like this one rather than waiting for them to occur and just imposing fines?”
The database installed a decade ago was bought for the Secretary of State's office to track nursing and other professional licenses — not annual inspections of items needing regular safety checks, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
Officials at the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner told the newspaper that $440,000 worth of software installed in July can list sites due and overdue for safety inspections, but it will be next July before they can produce such a list.
Asked if data from the old system could be moved into the new one, the company that designed the first database told state officials that just starting the process would cost $100,000.
Deputy Fire Safety Commissioner Mark Revenew told the newspaper that inspectors find inspection certificates that are two years old.
Department spokesman Weston Burleson said work on replacing the system started in 2019 after current Commissioner John King was appointed.
“It was something we learned pretty quickly needed to be addressed,” Burleson said. “It just takes a while to right the ship.”