KSU: Elevators safe, up-to-date

Douglas Miller

The Kent State Office of Campus Environment and Operations is ahead of the elevator safety issue pushed to the forefront by an incident at Ohio State.

Andrew Polaskowski of Erie, Pa., was killed in an elevator accident late this October in a residence hall at Ohio State. According to officials, this accident occurred because the elevator was overloaded.

Mike McDonald, director of Campus Environment and Operations, said elevator emergency extraction training had been discussed for sometime prior to what happened at OSU.

“We are attempting to speed up our ability to safely extract persons from a stuck elevator,” McDonald said.

McDonald said under the current contract, between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m., it could take up to an hour to have a qualified person respond and safely remove people trapped in an elevator.

He said he wants to train a combination of first responders to be certified in emergency elevator extractions that includes police, firefighters and maintenance personnel. A date has not been set but the training will take place sometime this spring.

The incident caused Campus Environment and Operations to make sure it has and will continue to check the more than 90 campus elevators to ensure all needed maintenance and inspections are up-to-date.

“We contract out our elevator maintenance,” McDonald said. “We essentially have a full-time elevator tech inspecting and maintaining our elevators.”

The OSU elevator’s maximum load was 2,500 pounds. Officials said there were 24 passengers on the elevator that night. At an average of 150 pounds per person, there was 50 percent more weight then the elevator could handle.

Sophomore architecture major Jarrett Fishman said the Taylor Hall elevator is always overcrowded after studio class lets out.

“There are definitely too many people in there sometimes,” Fishman said. “I still feel safe most of the time, though.”

McDonald said his staff placed signs near elevators where an overload is likely to occur, in residence hall buildings with four or more stories. He said the signs remind everyone not to attempt to run the elevator with more weight than it was designed to carry. The maximum capacity is posted inside all elevators.

Contact building and grounds reporter Douglas Miller at [email protected].