It has emerged that almost all the lifts operating in high-rise buildings in the Greater Accra Region are doing so illegally.
A survey by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) 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.
This means that only one lift in the region has been approved by the GSA, in compliance with the law.
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The Director General of the GSA, Prof. Alex Dodoo, told the Daily Graphic in Accra last Tuesday that the authority feared the situation could be worse in other regions.
Beyond the certification, the law mandates persons and institutions using lifts and hoists to test them at the GSA twice a year.
The design and pattern of the equipment must also be pattern-approved every three years.
While the certification is to help determine the safety and capacity of persons a lift can carry, the pattern approval is to ensure that the design of the lift is not altered for safety, security and durability of the equipment.
To help ensure that people and institutions comply with the law for the safety of users, Prof. Dodoo said the authority had now decided to clampdown on perpetrators nationwide.
The clampdown would include the prosecution of persons and institutions that contravened the law, he added.
He explained that in violation of the law, many individuals and institutions that had installed lifts had not complied with the guidelines for testing and approving their safety standards for public use, which posed a danger to users.
Asked about the consequence of not conforming to the requirements, he warned that the authority would prosecute persons who were violating the law.
“As of today, the GSA has only one pattern-approved lift operating in the country,” he said in an interview.
Prof. Dodoo explained that in accordance with the law, the GSA had classified lifts and hoists as instruments of weighing and hence required all persons who had installed such equipment in their buildings to comply with the relevant portions of NRCD 326 by having their installed lifts or hoists inspected and verified and a certificate of verification issued for them.
“Any person who has in his possession for use in trade or industry any weight, measure or instrument for weighing or measuring shall retain in his possession the certificate of verification issued in respect thereof and shall produce the certificate for inspection whenever required,” he warned.
He said it was difficult to find evidence of any work being done to check the safety of lifts in the country, although the law required that “it must be tested twice a year and must be pattern-approved every three years”.
Surge in high-rise buildings
With Accra’s skyline showing signs of promise, he said, erecting lifts to access skyscrapers was inevitable.
As a result, Prof. Dodoo urged persons and institutions that installed lifts and hoists to obtain a pattern-approval from the GSA to ensure that the design of the lift was examined against the published national standard.
He also called for a working relationship with the authority to regularly inspect, verify, certify and authenticate any such lifts and hoists in buildings as prescribed by law.
Being the custodian of weights and measures and inspectors of weighing and measuring devices under the Weights and Measures Decree, 1975, NRCD 326, he said, the GSA was the only body with the mandate to periodically examine and approve the use of lifts in the country.
Provisions of NRCD 326
Section 11 of NRCD 326 provides that every weight, measure and instrument for weighing or measuring for use in trade or industry shall be verified and stamped by an inspector with a stamp of verification and the inspector shall issue a certificate of verification.
A certificate of verification issued under Subsection (1) shall remain in force for such period as may be prescribed and shall, during that period, authorise the use of weight, measure or instrument for weighing or measuring in any part of Ghana unless it is unjust.
The act further indicates that an inspector shall not verify, stamp, certify or authenticate any weight, measure or instrument for weighing or measure where it is not in conformity with Subsection 9 (1) or 9 (2) or presents unusual features which do not conform to such pattern or specifications as the custodian of weights and measures may prescribe.