Lift experts give their opinion

Mr Ng Wee Keong, the Head of Operations and Technical Services Division of Mitsubishi Elevator (Singapore) Pte.Ltd., said new measures by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) “will improve lift safety for the whole industry and provide better safety to users”.

Referring to Outcome-based Maintenance which is part of the new changes, Mr Ng said mentions that the current measures during inspection are already outcome-based but the new measures help to make the requirements even more specific.

He said: “For example, currently the Singapore Standard 550 (SS550) states that ‘lift equipment must be lubricated and cleaned’.

Under the new measures, the specific equipment will be named, such as ‘brakes or lift parts should not contain any oil or grease contamination’.

” Mr Ng also touched on another new measure known as the Permit to Operate system.

The BCA will now require every lift to have a permit issued by it before it can be operated.

This is in addition to current checks and certifications done by Authorised Examiners.

Mr Ng said that a potential hurdle this new measure will encounter is the immense amount of paperwork and manpower that is needed to install the permits in all passenger lifts and the amount of resources needed for the audit checks. According to the BCA, there are a total of about 59,000 passenger lifts in Singapore.

Mr Ng also said the re-introduction of the display of permits in the lifts will help passengers to “feel more safe and assured” that the lifts are maintained properly.

Regarding the recent spate of lift accidents, Mr Ng said that: “if these accidents occurred due to improper lift maintenance, then these new measures should at least mitigate the chances of these lift accidents happening.”

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Tags: Lift, Accident and hdb

One month after fatal lift accident, son of deceased says: 'I just want some answers'

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said yesterday that tighter regulations for lifts are set to kick in as early as next month, but it is scant comfort for family who lost dad in lift mishap

Mr Lim Hang Chiang, 77, died due to a fall at the lift at a Block at Pasir Ris Street 21 on May 15 2016.
FAMILY: A family gathering with the late Mr Lim Hang Chiang and his wife Madam Kwek Sar Moi (centre) during Chinese New Year.

One month ago, his 77-year-old father died in an accident after a lift malfunctioned at his block.

Mr Lim Keng Swee, 45, the youngest son, is still looking for closure over his father's death, which happened just four days shy of his 78th birthday.

Mr Lim said he has been frustrated that there has been no answer so far as to why the lift malfunctioned that day.

His father, Mr Lim Hang Chiang, had toppled out of his mobility scooter as he reversed, suffering fatal head injuries on May 16.

The elder Mr Lim had been trying to get out of the lift at Block 247, Pasir Ris Street 21, but the lift was 15cm higher than the floor, so the scooter toppled over..

A frustrated Mr Lim said that he was told at his father's wake that the authorities would give him a report about the case by the end of May, but he has yet to receive it.

"I just want some answers, why are they taking so long, and why don't we have displays of when the lifts are last serviced? It just makes me wonder."

Mr Lim, who works in the construction industry, said when he was interviewed during the investigation, he asked the investigators about the frequency of lift maintenance and the person-in-charge of overseeing lift maintenance.

Separately, he has wondered whether the lift uses original parts or third-party parts.

The answer to one of his questions - regarding the person in charge of overseeing lift maintenance - will be displayed in all lifts under BCA's new Permit-to-Operate System, which was introduced yesterday and may be implemented as early as next month.


This requires all owners to display the permit in the lift, indicating the lift contractor responsible for maintenance and the name of the Authorised Examiner (AE) who inspected and certified the lift.

Mr Lim also wants to know the criteria that Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council uses to ensure that the lift is properly maintained.

Under BCA's new measures, outcome-based maintenance will provide more specific criteria and checklists for lift maintenance works. (See report below.)

In the meantime, his family has been mourning the loss of the elder Mr Lim, who was in hospital on the day of his family's planned birthday celebration for him.

Things have not been the same at home, said his son. "I just feel this emptiness in my heart. I am still trying to cope with the loss of my father."

His mother, Madam Kwek Sar Moi, 77, chose to move out from the bedroom that she has shared with her husband to another room in the flat, because she finds staying in the room a painful reminder.

Granddaughter Angelina Lim, six, still asks for her grandfather, saying: "Ah gong go where?".

Mr Lim said his family, comprising older brother Lim Keng Meng, 51, and older sister Lim Lee Meng, 50, as well as his widowed mother, has not been the same since the incident.

He said: "My mother looks okay on the surface, but I don't really think that she's okay. Her husband is gone."

Why are they taking so long, and why don't we have displays of when the lifts are last serviced? It just makes me wonder.

- Mr Lim Keng Swee, whose father, Mr Lim Hang Chiang, died in a lift mishap last month.

Compilation of major lift accidents

When: 11 June 2016 Where: 15th level of Block 299A, Compassvale Street Age of lift: 15 years (2001) Brand of lift: Sigma-manufactured lift

How often is the lift maintained: What happened: Mr Tan Joo Jin,45, entered the lift on the 15th level.

Later, five others entered the lift on the eighth floor.

The llift then suddenly jerked and stopped between levels three and four for a few seconds.

After which, the lift suddenly shot downwards and stopped between levels 2 and 3 before landing hard on the ground floor.

When: 7 June 2016 Where: 9th floor of Block 150, Petir Road Age of lift: Brand of lift:

Sigma-manufactured lift How often is the lift maintained: What happened:

Part-time cleaner Madam Yeo Choon Tee was descending from the ninth floor to the ground floor of Block 150, Petir Road.

In the process, the lift lurched upwards to the 11th floor, dropped to the third floor, and then shot up to the 12th floor.

Madam Yeo had hurt her back in the process and was warded in a hospital for overnight observation.

When 16 May 2016: Where: Block 247, Pasir Ris Street 21 Age of lift:  About 24 years Brand of lift: Fujitec

How often is the lift maintained: What happened: 77-year-old Mr Lim Hang Chiang died after he fell from his mobility scooter and hit his head while exiting the lift backwards.

There was a 15cm elevated platform between the lift’s platform and the ground floor, which caused his scooter to topple over.

When: 7 March 2016 Where: Block 317, Ang Mo Kio Street 31 Age of lift: Brand of lift:

How often is the lift maintained: What happened: A 36-year-old Indonesian domestic worker was flung up when the lift suddenly shot up from the third to the 20th storey, and hurt her back in the process.

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Singaporeans at higher risk of heart failure

Study shows average age of S'poreans with heart failure is 10 years below that of Westerners

EXPERIENCED: Associate Professor Carolyn Lam, principal investigator of the study and senior consultant with the Department of Cardiology at the National Heart Centre, assessing a patient.

Singaporeans with heart failure tend to be much younger than Americans and Europeans.

A multinational study has found that the average age of Singaporeans with heart failure is 61. They are about 10 years younger than Westerners.

The reasons: Affluence, stress, dietary habits, and a sedentary lifestyle. These factors lead to coronary artery disease, hypertension and diabetes - the three most common diseases linked to heart failure.

These findings from the Asian-HF (heart failure) study were presented by Associate Professor Carolyn Lam, the principal investigator of the study, at the European Society of Cardiology Heart Failure Congress in Italy in late May.

According to the study:

• 62 per cent of Singaporeans have coronary artery disease;

• 70 per cent suffer from high blood pressure;

• 58 per cent have diabetes.

That's higher than in other parts of Asia, the US and Europe.

Only 40 per cent of patients in the study in Asia and the US, and 33 per cent in Europe, had diabetes.

Slightly more than 1,000 Singaporeans were among the 5,000-plus Asians who took part in the study.

Professor Mark Richards, who chairs the executive committee of the study, said the report provides data for better understanding into Asian heart failure patients "as there is no single phenotype".

The study found that Malays from countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were at the highest risk of heart failure.

About 62 per cent of Malays had hypertension compared to 58 per cent of Chinese and 43 per cent of Indians.

Prof Lam, who is a senior consultant with the Department of Cardiology at the National Heart Centre Singapore, said: "In Singapore, we have transitioned from a developing country to a developed one rapidly.


"It's now the baby boomers who have reached that age of 60, and they are manifesting heart failure from these risk factors."

One such boomer is a 70-year-old retiree who wanted to be known only as Mr Tay. He used to run a business manufacturing T-shirts, football jerseys and trophies.

"I had always been healthy and had never been sick a day in my life until 2010. I was having supper with a friend when I felt bloated and uneasy," he told The New Paper yesterday.

"I was looking pale so I decided to go to the hospital the next day. That was when they warded me for four days after I was diagnosed with heart failure."

It seemed the stress of rushing around and not having regular check-ups had taken a toll on Mr Tay.

An ultrasound scan in February this year showed his heart is functioning at only 19 per cent.

Prof Lam said: "The silver lining is that most cardiovascular risk factors are modifiable. In other words, there is a lot we can do to reduce or prevent the risk of hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

"The simple acts of walking more, taking the stairs, eating appropriate portions of food can cut the risk of getting these diseases."

Citing an example of unhealthy diet, she said she was at a playground with her one-year-old son when a group of primary school pupils had lunch.

"I was taken aback when their lunch was made up of donuts and fries," she said.

"Now, if we teach our children to eat healthily, then the future generation would not have to contend with heart failure."

The simple acts of walking more, taking the stairs, eating appropriate portions of food can cut the risk of getting these diseases.

- Prof Lam, a senior consultant with the Department of Cardiology at the National Heart Centre Singapore


Unlicensed minibus driver gets eight weeks' jail for causing fatal accident

Jail, driving ban for man who killed two people while driving a minibus with only a Class 3 licence

FATAL COLLISION: Nigel John Retnam was sentenced to a total of eight weeks' jail and given a fiveyear driving ban for causing the death of a motorcyclist and his pillion rider in a collision in July 2015.

He killed a motorcyclist and a pillion rider while driving a minibus without a proper licence.

Yesterday, Nigel John Retnam, 22, was sentenced to a total of eight weeks' jail and banned from driving all classes of vehicles for five years.

In asking for a custodial sentence of between eight and 10 weeks, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sarah Ong said Retnam's "degree of negligence is high".

There were two fatalities and Retnam had driven without the requisite licence, she said.

FATAL COLLISION: Nigel John Retnam (above) was sentenced to a total of eight weeks' jail and given a five year driving ban for causing the death of a motorcyclist and his pillion rider in a collision in July 2015. PHOTOS: TNP FILE, SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

The court heard that Retnam had borrowed an 11-seater minibus on July 19 to visit his father at the Institute of Mental Health that afternoon.

After meeting at Race Course Road, a friend gave Retnam the keys to the minibus despite the latter not having a vocational driving licence.

Retnam, who was then a National Serviceman, possessed only a Class 3 driving licence.

KILLED: Mr Wong Sang Min and his wife, Madam Ng Soo Kiew. LIANHE WANBAO FILE PHOTO

While driving the minibus alone along Yishun Avenue 2, Retnam had switched from the second lane on the four-lane road to the left-most lane with deadly consequences. He had failed to keep a proper lookout.

The manoeuvre caused the minibus to collide into the rear of Mr Wong Sang Min's motorcycle, flinging Mr Wong and his wife, Madam Ng Soo Kiew, 60, onto the ground.

The impact also sent the motorcycle crashing into the back of a car, hurting a female passenger.

Mr Wong, 63, was pronounced dead on the spot while Madam Ng died a few days later in hospital. Both had died due to multiple injuries, an autopsy report stated.

Retnam's lawyer, Mr S. S. Dhillon, had pleaded for leniency with the judge as it was his client's first brush with the law.

In mitigation, he said his client had trouble sleeping due to recurring nightmares. He said that for the past 11 months, Retnam has continued to think about the accident he caused which resulted in the deaths.

Mr Dhillon said Retnam was deeply remorseful and that the tragic accident was "pure human error".

Said the defence lawyer: "This is not a case where the accused was speeding, drink driving or asleep (at the time of the offence)... such accidents can happen to anyone."

After the fatal collision, Retnam stayed to check on the injured and he cooperated with the police investigation, said Mr Dhillon.

But DPP Ong said there was no reason for Retnam to have driven the minibus. "There were clearly alternative transport options available."


Body of boy snatched by alligator found intact

SNATCHED: An aerial view of the Grand Floridian where a twoyear- old boy was dragged by an alligator into the lagoon at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida.
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