The Iowa Workforce Development elevator inspectors have concluded a safety retainer bracket that is supposed to hold the elevator door in place had been damaged in a previous incident. The doors had previously been found out of their tracks about two months previous to the young Illinois gentleman who fell to his death when the doors collapsed into the shaft. He was pushed by a friend when they were horsing around. But that doesn’t seem all that significant; the horsing around doesn’t seem to be the cause of the door caving in. What it appears likely is that had the door been properly maintained or fixed that it would have held in place that night of June 6, 2009 when Robert Pawlak, 19 of Downers Grove, Illinois got pushed by his friend.

Apparently the state elevator inspectors using subpoenas obtained copies of the inspection reports from December 2008 to the present which provided evidence of the previous problem and prying of the doors to sort of fix them.

So the question is whether this maintenance was proper and legal under the law and standards for fixing elevators. It seems difficult to imagine it is. Experts in any wrongful death case on behalf of the decedent will include elevator inspectors and maintenance people.  The statute of limitations in a case such as this would appear to be two years.  The Iowa Workforce Development site shows during the latter part of 2008 there were 10,735 elevators in Iowa. Of those 10,735 existing elevators 1,413 were inspected from July 1, 2008 to September 30, 2008 and from October through December 31, 2008 1,615 were inspected.  Source, Labor Service Report, Iowa Workforce.

Ontario, Canada - Elevators Preventive Maintenance

Latest in ONPHA's series of preventive maintenance videos. This episode includes legislative requirements, daily maintenece checklist, and things that your mechanic should perform during regular inspections.

For additional reading see the following articles in the Des Moines Register and the Ames Tribune. The KCCI article was not available.

Elevator doors in accident in Ames had been off track

By GUNNAR OLSON • [email protected]July 16, 2009

Elevator in Ames where man died found faulty

The Des Moines Register • July 3, 2009

Device damaged on elevator where man fell to death

GUNNAR OLSON • [email protected]July 2, 2009


Archives > Ames Tribune > News

State report identifies broken elevator part

Broken part may have caused door to collapse in fatal accident


Petition for Reconsideration of an Elevator Inspection Report

Elevator Safety Board

Iowa Division of Labor, 1000 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0209

Division of Labor Services

Elevators, Escalators, and Wheelchair Lifts Inspection Program

Iowa Code -  Chapter 89A as amended by SF318

Administrative Rules.

Chapter 65 - Elevator Safety Board Administrative and Regulatory Authority

Chapter 66 - Waivers or Variances From Administrative Rules by the Elevator Safety Board

Chapter 67 - Elevator Safety Board

Petitions for Rule Making

Chapter 68 - Declaratory Orders by the Elevator Safety Board

Chapter 69 - Contested Cases Before the Elevator Safety Board

Chapter 70 - Public Records and Fair Information Practices of the Elevator Safety Board

Iowa Workforce Development Newsletter from 3rd quarter 2007 has this interesting note:

Our condolences to the families of……

Rick Glenney, 52, was crushed when frozen product fell on him in Ft. Dodge.

Melanie Selken, 54, fell while riding a belt man lift up and went over the top, falling eight stories in Ansgar.

Bradley Mills, 38, became caught under equipment after crawling up the side of a bin which fell and he was buried

in the sand in Milford.

Dennis Lammers, 52, caught on fire during an explosion while loading gasoline into a tanker in Sioux Center.

Elizabeth Myers, 44, inhaled toxic levels of ammonia when new refrigerant piping was installed and the stop valve was opened in Evansdale.

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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