IUEC

North Carolina short-term rental property owners have a little over two months to implement improved safety standards for residential elevators included in legislation signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday.

Cooper signed House Bill 619, sponsored by Rep. Timothy Moffitt, R-Henderson, to require owners of vacation cottages or similar short-term rentals to implement measures to improve the safety of residential elevators. The law was inspired by a child’s death at a beach home in Corolla last year.

“This law requires much-needed safety measures for elevators in short-term rentals, and while this action sadly can’t reverse the tragedy that killed Weston Androw, it does mean better protection to prevent future injuries and deaths,” Cooper said.

Weston’s Law is named after 7-year-old Weston Androw, who died in July 2021 after he was trapped between an elevator car and elevator shaft while visiting the Outer Banks with his family from Ohio. EMS workers quickly freed the child but were unable to resuscitate him.

The bill gives owners and landlords operating short-term rentals with residential elevators until Oct. 1 to reduce the gap between the landing and elevator car doors to no more than 4 inches, by installing a space guard on the landing floor, The Associated Press reports.

The bill also mandates minimum force requirements for elevator car doors and gates, which must be documented with the N.C. Department of Insurance.

Weston’s parents, Timeka and David Androw, advocated for the changes.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning to vacation rental platforms, AirBnB, Vrbo, Trip Advisor and others to require owners to disable home elevators following Weston’s death.

CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Alder urged the companies in a letter to disable the elevators, describing how children “some as young as two, and as old as 12, have been crushed to death” by getting trapped in the gap between inner and outer doors of residential elevators. While several deaths have occurred, “others have suffered devastating and lifelong injuries,” according to the CPSC.

Alder called on the companies to immediately notify all renters of the potential hazard and to disable elevators with the dangerous gap until the issue is addressed.

In January, the CPSC announced three leading elevator manufacturers – Bella Elevator, Inclinator Company of America, and Savaria Corporation – agreed to voluntarily recall about 69,000 residential elevators due to the issue.

The recalls involved numerous models manufactured between 1979 and 2021.

“Industry and the CPSC still have work to do. We have not yet been able to reach agreements with all of the elevator companies to fix their residential elevators that pose the same potentially fatal entrapment hazard and in one case sued a company to force a fix,” CPSC Chairman Axexander Hoehn-Saric said in January. “As long as this hazard persists, I am committed to continuing this work and preventing future entrapment injuries and deaths.”

ElevatorInfo just had an opportunity to travel to Chicago to check out the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 2 Annual Golf Outing. Hundreds of golfers from the Chicago area and across the country look forward to the outing each year, as the event is a perfect time to connect with old friends and contribute to finding a cure for diabetes.

Tom Karlya (Senior Vice President, Philanthropy and Union Liaison, Diabetes Research Institute Foundation) took time to speak with ElevatorInfo at this year’s outing. Karlya – also known as “Diabetes Dad” – had nothing but great things to say about his friends in the elevator industry and across the building trades unions.

“One of our biggest fundraisers is IUEC Local 2’s golf outing,” said Tom Karlya. “We are so grateful for the support of our brothers and sisters in the elevator trade. Any real, major research step forward in the diabetes world – a lot of it started at the Diabetes Research Institute. Local 2’s support is amazing – they’ve been with us every step of the way. Their money helps fund critical research, and eventually this research goes to bigger and bigger things.”

IUEC Local 2 has been actively supporting the Diabetes Research Institute for more than two decades.

“We have more than 460 golfers here. For an event of this scale, it takes a lot of good people to put it together. The golfers, the donors, the union members – each person plays an invaluable role,” said John Valone, National Coordinator with the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund and a former IUEC Local 2 Business Manager. “We’re not done until diabetes is cured.”

The energy throughout the outing is nothing short of contagious. Each golfer, event organizer, and supporter is focused on finding a way to beat diabetes (and having fun while doing so!). This year alone, the golf outing raised more than $70,000. In total, the Local 2 golf outing has generated more than $700,000 for the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

“It’s love. We’re supposed to do this in life – we’re supposed to take care of other people. It’s the right thing to do,” said IUEC General President Frank J. Christensen.

The Diabetes Research Institute houses teams of scientists, engineers, and clinicians with the expertise required to tackle diabetes from many angles. If you or your organization may be interested in getting involved with the fight for a cure for diabetes, please contact us here: www.iuec2.com

 

ElevatorInfo recently had a chance to sit down with Ovi Gorgescu, an elevator constructor with TKE who currently maintains 170 elevators on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). During our conversation, he spoke to the importance of education and training, especially in a highly complex trade like the elevator industry. He also explained that not having the “right training” and the “right skills” is incredibly dangerous.

“In the elevator industry, you have to know what you’re doing – and that means workers must receive the proper training,” said Gorgescu, now a member of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 21 in Dallas-Fort Worth, who has worked for a non-union company before and speaks to the tremendous difference in education and safety.

Gorgescu goes on to argue that his apprenticeship – a 4-year apprenticeship with the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) – is what set him up for success. The training, he believes, is what keeps him safe every day.

As the resident mechanic at UTA, Gorgescu explains that he loves his job for many reasons – and that between toolbox talks and safety meetings, he is always encouraged to make safety his top priority.

“Working for TKE and being a member of IUEC Local 21, I feel safe at work,” added Gorgescu. “I’m constantly thinking about my own safety, as well as the safety of my colleagues and the riding public.”

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