Three branches of the US-based Otis Elevator Company in China will be fined for a deadly July accident at a Beijing subway station that occurred due to a malfunctioning Otis-produced escalator, local authorities said Friday.
An ascending escalator on Beijing Subway Line 4, an Otis 513 MPE, reversed suddenly, and killed a 13-year-old boy and injured 30 others on July 5.
Guangzhou Otis Elevator Co. Ltd., Beijing Otis Elevator Co. Ltd. and their parent company, Tianjin-based Otis Elevator (China) Investment Co. Ltd., will be fined 200,000 yuan ($31,250), 200,000 yuan and 100,000 yuan, respectively, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technological Supervision announced in a statement.
The company's Tianjin branch, which produced the escalator that malfunctioned, and Beijing branch, which is in charge of daily maintenance on the escalator, should shoulder the major liabilities for the accident, the bureau said, citing an investigation panel of the municipal government.
The Tianjin branch had failed to issue relevant papers on technological standards about the escalator in a timely manner and should shoulder the secondary liability, the bureau said.
They were fined according to the Regulations on Safety Supervision of Special Equipment, it said.
The workers with the Beijing branch who were in charge of the daily maintenance of the malfunctioned escalator will have their work permits revoked, and investigators suggested judicial authorities prosecute two of them suspected of breaking criminal law, the statement said.
A total of 177 Otis escalators at Beijing subway stations have had operations suspended following the July accident, and Otis is taking measures to ensure that all those escalators will be put back into operation before the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on January 23, 2012, the statement said.
Beijing quality supervision and transport authorities will stipulate stricter regulations on the selection and maintenance of subway escalators, it added.
China has become the world's largest user of elevators and escalators, maintaining 1.63 million in service, and the number is increasing by 20 percent annually, official statistics show.
The country launched a nationwide safety-check campaign after the accident in Beijing.
By the end of July, the country's quality watchdogs had inspected 231,306 escalators and elevators and found that 11,896 had potential safety problems, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) has said.
The country plans to implement the recall rule in the Law of the Special Equipment Safety that is currently being drawn up, AQSIQ officials have said.