According to the National Elevator Industry Inc. (NEII), there are over 35,000 escalators in the U.S. that transport an estimated 105 billion passengers per year. We rely on these machines every day to get us from place to place, which unfortunately makes many of us take them for granted. At KONE, passenger safety is our number one concern, however, not even scheduled maintenance and best practices can prevent injuries caused by equipment misuse.
As the holiday season approaches, escalators will see a surge in traffic as people flock to malls and department stores for holiday season shopping, as well as the millions that will head to airports. Escalators enable large amounts of people to move from place to place more quickly. It’s important to remember that these machines require you to be attentive while riding, and avoid situations that put you and other riders at risk.
To raise awareness of potential safety risks, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), the elevator and escalator code authority of Ontario, Canada, has produced a set of public safety videos demonstrating activities that increase the risk of injury on an escalator. We find these videos a good reminder, and warning, of the increased dangers of equipment misuse during the holiday shopping madness.
Child Safety: Children can often mistake an escalator as a fun ride and easily put themselves in harm’s way. Parents need to keep a watchful eye on children on an escalator. Something as innocuous as a dropped toy can result in an injury if a child were to reach down to the comb plate.
Strollers, wheel chairs and walking aides: In addition, if a child is in a stroller or elderly person is using a walker or similar aide, it’s best to use the elevator as these items create a potential for a rider to lose balance and injure themselves or others. Instead, head to the elevators if you’re traveling with wheels or even if you’re carrying something and can’t hold the handrail.
Loose Clothing: During the winter, many of us will bundle up with layers and put on our favorite scarf before heading out. Even if you aren’t bundling up in extra layers, articles of loose clothing or shoelaces hanging near moving escalator steps can easily snag or get caught.
We’re proud that our escalators are a big part of increasing People Flow around the world, especially during the holidays when families come together. It’s important that our passengers are aware of the safety precautions involved with using escalators and elevators and ensure they enjoy their holiday season.