With all the lift breakdowns being reported in mainstream news and on social media, it is possible that people are now more sensitive to every little jerk, squeak or the flicker of light when they are in the lift.

Just enter “Singapore lift accidents” in Google. You would be surprised at the search results.


12 accidents since 2013 and these includes both HDB and private lifts.  (A compilation of lift accidents by TNP here)

People are afraid that they would join the growing list of passengers involved in lift accidents. After all, most Singaporeans stay in HDBs or work in high rise buildings. We are bound to take the lift at least twice a day (once to go up, another to go down). Statistically, the probability of us getting hurt in lift is therefore higher than Singaporeans winning the TOTO (Source)

Are Singapore lifts safe? – Should we be taking the stairs instead?

You should be taking the stairs regardless. It’s healthier. But to climb 30 stories is a tad excessive.

Yes. Singapore lifts are safe. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore have been ramping up maintenance checks and independent audits of all the passenger lifts around Singapore. (Source)

BCA’s regular audit checks indicate that most lifts in Singapore are generally in good condition and safe to operate. However, BCA’s investigations into recent lift incidents revealed that the overall standard of maintenance by lift contractors can be further improved. It is critical to uphold high standards of maintenance as the lifts get older, and are subject to more wear and tear over time. Additionally, BCA is also reinstating the display of lift certificates (stating that checks has been done and certified by an engineer) within the lift for greater transparency and accountability. (Source).

Are the accidents because of lifts made in China?

This is a stereotype and it is false.

It doesn’t take expertise in economics to know that China manufactures a lot of stuff — just look at the label on your computer, floor lamp, and shoes. Everything is made in China nowadays.


Stop thinking of China products being unreliable or trival. Think of computers, essential to business operations around the world. China manufactures over 90% of them!

I don’t know much about lifts, but I know for sure that there will be some parts that will be made in China (even if it’s the screws used in the assembly of the lifts).

A quick search revealed that lifts in Singapore are generally made by these companies – Fujitec, Hitachi, Sigma, Toshiba, Mitsubishi and Otis. Such companies own the technology to their lifts and are responsible for its function. Like most other companies out there (Apple included), they may produce the parts in China, but will generally assemble them in their own production plants as their engineers are based there.

What now?

We refuse to add ‘lifts’ to the list of pertinent problems that the Singapore government could not solve. Enough with the occasional SMRT breakdowns and pondings.

The lift is a mechanical system and is subjected to wear and tear. A tighter maintenance regime and stricter enforcement by the BCA will certainly help. On our part, we should continue to be vigilant and highlight the defects in the lifts to the Town Councils. (As far as we observed, the engineers came to rectify the issue rather quickly).

  • Singapore lifts are safe and reliable.

  • Everything is made in China (even iPhones). That does not mean it is of poor quality

Maybe in the near future, Min Lawrence could celebrate the number of incident free days for lifts just like his colleague Min Khaw Boon Wan did for the North-South train line.