NYC elevator safety under scrutiny after man's death

There are more than 35 million passenger trips on elevators in New York City every day, but in the wake of the death of 30-year-old Samuel Waisbren on Thursday, their safety is coming under scrutiny.

Waisbren was crushed after the elevator in his Kips Bay apartment building suddenly dropped while he was getting off of it. 

"What happened yesterday is a tragedy that should never happen to anybody," said State Senator Diane Savino.

Savino has sponsored a bill that passed the state legislature in June that would require elevator mechanics in New York to be licensed.

"New York City has more elevators than any city in the country," Savino said. "You need a license to cut hair, you don't need a license to repair and service elevators? It just doesn't seem to make sense."

Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the bill in the next few months. 

Records with the city's Department of Buildings show that there are over 70,000 elevators in the city, with billions of trips being made each year. Since 2016, there have been three passenger fatalities on elevators in New York City and in 2011 a woman was killed in a Midtown office building.

Elevators in New York City are required to be inspected twice a year. According to the Department of Buildings, the elevator involved in Thursday's tragedy does not have any safety violations, and they had not received a 3-1-1 complaint about that elevator in over 10 years. 

However, a second elevator in the Kips Bay building did have a safety violation from May, with records indicating that a "door zone restrictor has been tampered with, disabled and rendered inoperative." The Department of Buildings sad the repairs were made and inspectors cleared the elevator for use. 

The Department of Buildings has also said that their records show that work permits were issued a month ago to fix wiring in both elevators in the building and that it does not know if that work was completed as the elevator maintenance company has not contacted the department yet to inspect the work.