Overview: Elevator and Escalator Safety
According to statistics released by that National Elevator Industry in 2007, 210 billion riders in the United States use elevators and escalators each year; 325 million riders use elevators every day; 245 million riders use escalators each day. Because there are 700,000 elevators and 35,000 escalators in the United States, riders should be cautious when using them. Although elevator and escalator accidents are infrequent, accidents involving their use often result in serious and fatal injuries. In some cases, elevators and escalators may malfunction due to poor maintenance. As a result, elevator and escalator companies may be held liable for a rider’s injuries.
How to Ride an Elevator Safely
While elevators are designed to be safe, riders should take several precautions while riding them. First, if an elevator suddenly stops, riders should never attempt to open the doors and get out on their own. Such actions only increase the rider’s risk of injuries or death. Instead, passengers should press the alarm button to call for help. They should only exit the elevator with the assistance of trained emergency workers. In addition, riders should be careful when entering and exiting elevators, especially when the elevator and hall floorway are not level, a situation that could lead to trips and falls. Moreover, riders should try to stay as close to the elevator walls as possible to prevent falls if the elevator suddenly stops. In addition, passengers should never try to stop a closing door, and they should always keep all loose clothing items, such as scarves, away from the doors to prevent them from being caught. Finally, in the event of a fire, people should always use the stairs. Not only can elevators malfunction during a fire, but they can also quickly fill with smoke.
How to Ride an Escalator Safely
Statistically, riding an escalator is safer than taking the stairs. However, as is the case with people taking the stairs, escalator riders are most likely to be injured as the result of a trip or fall. In order to prevent falls, passengers should take extra caution when getting on and off an escalator. Riders should stand in the middle of the step and firmly hold the handrail in the event that the escalator suddenly stops or changes speed. Moreover, because the steps are not designed at the proper height for climbing, riders should stand still to avoid potential trips and falls. In the event of an accident, riders can push an emergency button to stop the escalator, which can only be restarted by an authorized person with a special key.
Escalators are six-ton moving machines. In some cases, loose items can get stuck in the moving parts of the escalator and result in serious accidents and injuries. Therefore, to prevent such accidents from happening, riders with long hair, high heels and long pieces of jewelry should take extra caution to stay in the middle of the step, away from moving parts and gaps. People with loose shoelaces or flip-flops should take the regular stairs. Finally, people should never ride escalators with baby strollers, walkers, shopping carts, scooters or wheelchairs. When getting off an escalator, promptly move to the front tor side to prevent a back up of people, which can result in a dangerous fall.
The Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation has more tips on riding safely here and here.