Raleigh, N.C. — Two divisions of the state Department of Labor aren't properly collecting fines for violations of labor laws and for malfunctioning elevators, according to an audit released Thursday.
The Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau performed follow-up inspections on only 3 percent of the elevators where violations were found, ranging from a dirty pit to more serious issues such as non-working phones or fire-service buttons, the audit states.
The division doesn't track whether any violations have been fixed, and it imposes and collects few penalties, according to the audit. Last year, the division assessed only 36 penalties, even though about 1,150 elevators had repeat violations for at least two consecutive years, and it collected only $4,650 of the $7,400 owed.
Also, auditors say the division violated state law by reducing penalties based the length of time between violations instead of an elevator's past history of violations.
The division said in its response to the audit that it is installing a new software program to track violations and penalty collection better. Managers also will retrain inspectors on the correct way to calculate penalties, and the division will refer unpaid penalties to the Attorney General's Office for collection.
Separately, auditors found that the Wage and Hour Bureau didn't perform follow-up inspections to determine whether labor laws were being followed by businesses where a compliance agreement had been issued. Also, any penalties issued weren't tracked, and allowing field inspectors to collect penalties opened the system up to fraud.
The division said in its response to the audit that it put new policies in place for tracking compliance agreements and centralized the collection of any penalties through its budget office.