The CPSC reports that 17,000 people are injured each year on elevators and escalators, with most of them being children. Entrapment injuries and falls are the most common, and manufacturers, maintenance providers and owners of escalators and elevators can take steps to prevent them.
What can be done to protect individuals from elevators or escalators?
The ASME/ANSI standard states that each escalator step should have “painted footprints” or “brightly colored borders,” but most are not painted. This means that intended users are not made aware of the potential for serious and severe injuries.
Experts argue that current escalator warning signs are defective due to incorrect wording, pictogram, color, and interlocking step treads. Most escalators violate the ASME A17 Safety Code, leading to gaps between adjacent steps and the step skirt.
Escalators and elevators that carry inadequate warnings, are defectively designed, and/or are improperly maintained can cause serious life-altering injuries to intended users. To address this, current codes allow the gaps along escalator step sides to be 3/16 of an inch on each side or 3/8 of an inch if the steps can be shifted from one side to the other, but many escalators are routinely operated with much larger gaps. Additionally, escalators can be retrofitted with safety plates that attach to the edges of steps and close dangerous gaps. Studies and statistics show that many of the victims are children who are simply the correct height to be more susceptible to injury or their fingers are the right size to slip into dangerous gaps in escalators.
Report Your Escalator Accident
Accidents on commercial property should be reported to the store’s management, as they contain valuable information such as the time and date of the accident, the names of any witnesses, and the circumstances surrounding it. Accident reports help prove that the accident occurred, preventing the property owner from denying it.
Escalator Safety Tips
Escalator safety tips include facing forward, holding the handrail, keeping feet firmly on the step, and being accompanied by children. If something goes wrong, press the emergency stop button. If you can take pictures of the cause of the area where your were injured, this evidence is instrumental in recovering your injuries if the premises owner could have fixed the problem before the injury occurred.
- Avoid transporting large, long, or heavy items on escalators.
- Avoid using the escalator if you’re using crutches, a wheelchair, or a walker.
- Don’t take a stroller or shopping cart onto an escalator. Take the elevator instead.
- Avoid riding the escalator barefoot or with loose shoelaces.
- In most parts of the world, it’s common for people to stay on the right side of the escalator as it moves upward. This allows passengers who are walking up the escalator to walk up the left side.
- When stepping off the escalator, don’t hesitate. Immediately move clear of the exit. There are people behind you who could be injured.
Contact Pacific Coast Injury Law Center
It is important to retain an attorney to help recover compensation for an escalator accident, as the earlier you contact them, the earlier they can begin investigating the case and prove the property owner’s negligence. It is also important to get the contact information of any witnesses to find out more facts about the slip and fall.