Thursday, June 2, 2011
Window guards, elevators not being inspected
After a 2-year-old girl fell out of a fifth-floor window that her mother said did not have mandatory safety bars, an audit by City Comptroller John Liu alleges that the city is too often lax when it comes to checking that bars are installed.
According to city law, landlords must install window guards if a child 10 years old or younger lives in the building.
The Department of Health fielded 37,148 window guard violations from 2007 to 2009. They then directed the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to follow up. Yet, after looking at a sample — 632 — of those violations, Liu found that HPD closed nearly half of them, 288, without ever verifying with the tenant that bars were indeed installed. An HPD spokesman said inspectors did indeed return to check — they just weren’t always allowed in by tenants.
From the Daily News:
Nearly three years after a 5-year-old died trying to escape a stalled housing project elevator, whistleblowing city inspectors say they're being told to fake reports and take safety shortcuts.
The city Housing Authority vowed to get on top of elevator safety after Jacob Neuman fell 10 stories to his death in August 2008 trying to squeeze out of a stuck lift at a Brooklyn project.
Years later, six inspectors have come forward to say the system remains unsafe because bosses pressure them to close inspections without doing a thorough job.
They say supervisors are obsessed with meeting a daily quota of six inspections a man, often ordering them to move to the next job without shutting dangerous elevators and waiting for a mechanic, as NYCHA rules dictate.
One veteran inspector who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation said he was under constant pressure not to pull the plug on unsafe elevators.
"I told them somebody's wife could be riding on that elevator, somebody's kid," he said. "They didn't want to hear it."