The information relayed by the Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Prof. Alex Dodoo, last Thursday that only one lift has been certified out of about 2,000 in operation in Accra is indeed very scary and troubling.
Lifts are the approved and most used means to access floors and apartments in storey and high-rise buildings the world over, and so almost all hotels and high public buildings in the country have lifts which are used by patrons.
Already, some people have a phobia for lifts but they are forced to use them when they have to visit offices high up in buildings to conduct business, because that is the most reasonable thing to do.
The Daily Graphic is, therefore, very shocked with the revelation of the GSA director-general that only one of such lifts in Accra is certified to carry persons, meaning the about 1,999 other lifts are operating illegally and may be unsafe.
People have recounted several incidents of being stuck in lifts, either through power failure or a breakdown, which calls for stringent rules to run the lifts in operation.
However, once again as a country, we have been found wanting in keeping to the laid-down procedure for having lifts installed, therefore putting everyone’s life in danger.
While we laud Prof. Dodoo for alerting the public to the precarious situation we find ourselves in as Ghanaians because the lifts we use daily don’t have the pass to carry persons up and down buildings, we in the same breath blame the GSA for being so inactive over the years so far as oversight of the lifts is concerned.
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Prof. Dodoo himself has alluded that the GSA has found that contrary to the Weights and Measures Decree, 1975, NRCD 326, which requires that all lifts and hoists be certified by the authority before they are installed for use, only one lift out of the estimated 2,000 in the national capital has been certified, which means that only one lift in the region has been approved by the GSA, in compliance with the law.
Beyond the certification, the law mandates persons and institutions using lifts and hoists to test them at the GSA twice a year, while the design and pattern of the equipment must also be pattern-approved every three years.
But institutions such as the GSA exist to enforce the law and not to lament, and we are happy that although it has come very late, the GSA has decided to clamp down on and prosecute users of weights and measures nationwide who are not seeking approval from the authority.
The issue of the uncertified lifts in the country brings to the fore a fundamental challenge of the lack of supervision and regulation by government institutions established to ensure compliance with certain laws. If the lifts that operate in the nation’s capital have not been certified, we wonder what the situation is with those outside Accra.
The Daily Graphic commends the GSA for taking the initiative and following the example of the Bank of Ghana which has also taken the banking sector by storm and is trying to sanitise it. We, however, urge all other state institutions to take a cue from the move and streamline activities in their organisations as they have been mandated by law to do, to make Ghana work better.