After calls to increase safety, Cuomo signs elevator mechanic licensing bill

Mechanics and others must obtain licenses, like many other states

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Elevators mechanics will have to obtain licenses to work in New York in the future, bringing the state in line with standards required in the rest of the U.S.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Elevator Safety Act, which requires anyone who designs, builds, inspects, maintains and/or repairs elevators to be licensed by the state. Similar measures have been introduced since 2012, but faced opposition from real estate groups and others. The measure, which has awaited the governor’s signature since the Assembly approved the bill in late June, has gained traction in 2019 with a Democratic majority in the Senate.

“There is no doubt that this legislation will help prevent serious injury and loss of life for elevator installers and repair personnel and users alike,” Assembly member Marcos Crespo, one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement.

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Under the new law, workers can obtain a license through a few different methods, including taking a written test on national, state, and local codes (with at least four years of experience) or completing a union apprenticeship/other approved training program. According to the New York Post, the requirements won’t kick in until January 2022, as part of a compromise lawmakers made with the governor.

A January 2019 report by The Real Deal showed how elevator-related Injuries and fatalities in recent years underscored lapses in enforcement of city safety standards and a lack of consistency in training of elevator contractors. Between 2010 and 2018, at least 22 people were killed in passenger elevators or shafts in the city, according to the Department of Buildings. Twelve of the fatalities were mechanics. Other than New York, 36 states and the District of Columbia require elevator mechanics to be licensed.

“We’re glad that New York state, the governor took this very important first step,” said Michael Halpin, of the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 1.

The law also creates a nine-person Elevator Safety and Standards Board, which will oversee the implementation and enforcement of the new training requirements and issue recommendations on inspections and enforcement. The DOB must also start maintaining a list of licensed mechanics, contractors and inspectors. The list will be made available on the agency’s website.