HARRISBURG – Elevator safety improvements are moving forward following unanimous approval of Senate Bill 934, known as “Kristopher’s Law,” by the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.
Sens. Lisa Baker (R-20th) and John Yudichak (D-14th) introduced the measure following the loss of Luzerne County Corrections Officer Kristopher D. Moules. He and an inmate died following an altercation and subsequent fall down an elevator shaft at the Luzerne County Prison in 2016.
Calling him “a natural leader and motivator who lived a life of service to others,” Sen. Baker shared her personal connection to Kris Moules, while explaining the need for the bill at today’s meeting.
While the Department of Labor and Industry is responsible for administering and enforcing elevator safety standards in Pennsylvania, the current board rarely meets and has very little power.
“Nominal oversight, rarely exercised, provides flimsy public protection, so this measure represents a significant modernization,” she added. “Assumed safety is proving dangerous, and that is unacceptable.”
The new Elevator Safety Board will conduct a monthly review of issues related to elevator construction, maintenance and inspection. The body will also have regulatory authority, including the ability to grant exceptions and variances to existing codes, and membership will include those with expertise in the safe operation of elevators.
“By passing this legislation, we are honoring the life of Luzerne County Corrections Officer Kristopher Moules as we work proactively to ensure that more stringent safety measures for elevators are considered by the Department of Labor and Industry. Many elevator accidents that result in injury or the tragic loss of life can be prevented and its vital that we continue to move this legislation forward,” said Yudichak.