More must be done to reduce deaths from high-rise drop-offs
DESPITE THE EFFORTS OF LOCAL DOCTORS, a 5-year-old boy died on Sunday morning, three days after being hit by a window falling from a high-rise apartment building not far from his home in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. China Daily writer Li Yang comments:
This is the latest accident caused by objects falling from buildings in recent years.
Large numbers of high-rise buildings have been constructed in China and the government should act to limit the hazards that have been exposed by such accidents, some of which were preventable. For instance, side-opening windows should be banned from being used in tall buildings, as they can easily be blown off in strong winds.
External air conditioner units, windows, glass curtain walls, protective screening, thermal insulation materials, facet tiles, decoration materials－all of which have been killers in previous incidents－and any other objects that have the possibility of falling off high-rise buildings should be manufactured and installed according to higher safety standards.
The examination of high-rise projects must be meticulous and strict, and parties found giving a green light to problematic projects must be held accountable according to the law.
The owners and parties in charge of managing these properties should be informed of their safety guarantee period－during which the producers and installers should shoulder non-delegable responsibilities if items fall off buildings－and obliged to renew these items once they exceed their service life.
People should also be taught from childhood of the necessity of keeping a certain distance while passing by high buildings, particularly on windy days. The property management companies should be encouraged to erect billboards and posters in dangerous places close to the tall buildings to warn people.
If it is possible, the authority can make a compulsory rule that sidewalks must be kept a certain distance from buildings or with protective ceilings.
It should not take more deaths to spur the authorities to revise relevant industrial standards and project rules.