Escalators are found in many locations, and while falls and malfunctions are rare, they can still occur, potentially resulting in serious injuries in many cases. When poorly maintained, elevators quickly go from being convenient to extremely dangerous, especially for older adults and children.
Signs of a Malfunctioning or Hazardous Escalator
Escalators can present a significant risk to users’ safety in the event of a malfunction or damage, both of which often result from poor maintenance.
There are several types of escalators that many facilities use, including:
- Parallel layout
- Multiple parallel layout
- Crisscross layout
Some of the signs of a hazardous escalator are easy to see with the naked eye, including:
- Odd noises – Any grinding, thumping, screeching, or other unusual sounds can indicate a dangerous escalator.
- Missing steps – All steps should be secured in place on an escalator, including the top and sides.
- Missing comb plates – The comb plate is normally in place on the top and bottom landings of the escalator, and all teeth should be parallel to each other. Missing comb plates can put users at risk of entrapment.
- Missing foot brushes – Foot brushes help keep passengers’ feet away from the sides of the escalator, as users can feel the bristles at their feet if they are too close. A lack of foot brushes can increase the risk of entrapment at the sides of the escalator.
- Spaces and gaps – There should be no wide spaces between steps, which could otherwise trap feet and hands in the event of a fall.
Steps to Take During an Escalator Emergency
If escalator users wind up in any kind of emergency, including a fall, it’s important to take certain steps including:
- Avoid jumping off of the escalator at any height.
- Keep hands on the handrails in the event of a sudden stop.
- Walk, but don’t run, to the nearest exit at the top or bottom of the escalator.
- Never yell or scream, which could cause a panic and put users at risk of injury.
- Get as far away from the escalator as possible once off the escalator, allowing other users to get off while ensuring a safe distance from the escalator.
If an injury occurs, it’s important to call for medical assistance and seek medical attention immediately. Report the injury to a nearby security officer or management staff, capture evidence of the incident, and consult with an injury attorney who can evaluate the case and provide representation.
Taking these steps can help preserve the safety of everyone in the vicinity and build a strong case for a potential claim in the event of an injury.