Legislators advance elevator-safety measures in honor of late county prison guard

Moules -

A bill to improve elevator safety in memory of Luzerne County Prison correctional officer Kristopher Moules has advanced with unanimous approval by the state Senate Labor and Industry Committee.

The fifth-floor elevator door at the county prison in Wilkes-Barre swung open at the base on July 18, 2016, when inmate Timothy Darnell Gilliam Jr., 27, fell backward and hit the door, pulling 25-year-old Moules with him, an investigation found. The men fell 59 feet from the fifth floor to the top of the elevator car, which was stationary on the ground floor, and both died of multiple traumatic injuries, officials have said.

State Sens. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, and John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, introduced the measure, known as “Kristopher’s Law.”

It would require a new Elevator Safety Board to conduct monthly reviews of issues related to elevator construction, maintenance and inspection. The board also would have regulatory authority, including the ability to grant exceptions and variances to existing codes. Membership would include those with elevator safety expertise.

While the Department of Labor and Industry is responsible for administering and enforcing elevator safety standards in the state, the current board rarely meets and has very little power, the legislators said.