At least one in every five elevators in Massachusetts or more than 8,500 elevators have not had their annual safety inspections, according to a recent report in the Boston Herald. The report says that the inspections failed to take place despite a budget increase that allowed for more inspectors.

According to Department of Public Safety (DPS) data obtained by the Boston Herald, state officials had inspected just 79 percent of the roughly 41,000 elevators across Massachusetts until the month of March. This means that they had failed to inspect roughly 8,600 elevators for safety. It was found that in about dozens of lifts checked, more than half had certificates with different information than the public safety departments database. Currently, the state agency has 55 inspectors, but they are planning to hire more number of inspectors in the near future.

The report quotes State Auditor Suzanne Bump as saying, “Our audit found that, in addition to backlogs in inspections, DPS’s record keeping database was inaccurate”.

This year the department had a budget increase and increased its roster to as high as 70 inspectors. Elevator companies are required to pay a $400 fee to the state for each device that is inspected. In addition, they will face daily fines if they allow a certificate to lapse without alerting officials.

This report emphasizes the importance of elevator inspection and maintenance. The very existence of high-rise public buildings depends on these accessibility devices. Elevators are subject to wear and tear due to prolonged use and inclement weather conditions. Therefore periodic upgrades, inspection and maintenance are critical to avoid non-compliance issues, minimize risk of accidents, and reduce downtime.