(The Center Square) — An audit of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation by the state’s auditor general has uncovered several issues concerning the agency’s regulatory work on elevator safety.
According to the report, the department failed to effectively monitor the local elevator safety programs, which were established by authorized jurisdictions to ensure that compliance requirements within the Elevator Safety Act were met.
The department is responsible for identifying accident patterns or trends, however, the department had not performed any analysis during the audited timeframe, despite having the tools to analyze elevator accident data.
The AG examined 40 elevator accident reports, and the results indicated that 36 of those accidents did not have evidence showing elevators involved in accidents had been inspected and were safe for operation.
The department failed to provide evidence that they had inspected 237 elevators spread across the various jurisdictions, nor did it provide evidence that follow-up inspections were conducted. The violations reported did not have documentation proving these violations were fixed.
The audit found that adequate controls over elevator company and worker licensing and registrations were absent in some instances. The department could not answer why the documentation evidencing licensee competency was missing.
Established jurisdictions contracted by the department include Broward and Miami-Dade counties, the cities of Miami and Miami Beach, and the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, since renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
Contracted jurisdictions were to maintain copies of applications for permits issued by the department, copies of inspection reports that were issued, and the records of all applications for elevator certificates of operation that have been issued.
Other contractual duties included elevator inspections, callbacks and tracking complaints and accidents received by the department and the respective outcomes of those complaints.
The audit found that between July 2018, and March 2020, the department had neither established proper monitoring policies and procedures nor performed any monitoring activities in any of the contracted jurisdictions. The department cited limited staffing, changes in management, and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 and hurricanes as the reason monitoring activities were not done.
State law prohibits any elevator from being erected, constructed, installed, or altered within buildings or structures until the department has granted a permit to an approved registered elevator company.