Enforcement officials look at elevator operation

There are strict standards for installing, maintaining and operating elevators in the state of Tennessee. How often those standards are put to the test depends on where you live.

Government inspectors determine whether elevators are safe enough to ride. But Memphis elevators aren't examined as often as most.

According to the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development, 23 inspectors examine 10-thousand elevators in Tennessee twice a year. That includes parts of Shelby County. The only city not on their inspection list is Memphis. Elevators in Memphis are inspected only once a year.

"That's our local ordinance that's how we decided to do it." says Charlie Haines.

He's one of two code enforcement officers qualified to inspect 3-thousand elevators. It's a job that takes an entire year.

A state law enacted in 1951 gives local municipalities the authority to regulate THEIR OWN safety standards regarding elevators. The local standards should be in substantial conformity with the published standards of the American Standard of Safety Code for Elevators.

Ultimately building owners are responsible for hiring a licensed qualified contractor to keep elevators in safe working condition.

"If it's a serious violation we will shut the elevator down if they don't correct it, so far we haven't run into that but we'd issue them a citation to court." said Haines.

But if the agency with the power of handing out the citations is found in violation the state has no recourse.