During the holiday season, there’s a good chance that you’ll be spending lots of times in malls and retail establishments. You may also be staying in hotels or going through airports as you visit friends and family. In any of these spots, as well as in many other public buildings, you’ll likely be riding either escalators or elevators as you navigate your way through the long holiday shopping season..
Elevators or escalators can present some significant dangers, especially to children. Our Queens personal injury attorneys urge you to be aware of the risks and to exercise caution when riding in elevators or on escalators as you do your shopping or traveling this season.
The Dangers of Elevators and Escalators
Elevators are generally considered to be relatively safe. In fact, in 2011, the Los Angeles Times published an article indicating that elevator accidents are relatively rare. However, when accidents do occur, the result is often tragic. In fact, the article highlighting the safety of elevators was written after two fatal elevator accidents occurred in the U.S. within two weeks of each other.
Escalators, on the other hand, may present more dangers than elevators. According to a February 2009 CBS News report, almost 10,000 people each year suffer escalator injuries that send them to the emergency room. The vast majority of those who are injured are children, and escalator accidents often result in the loss of a limb or other serious or even deadly injuries.
How do Elevator and Escalator Accidents Happen?
Elevator and escalator accidents can occur in a number of ways.
- Escalator accidents generally result when a person gets a shoe or piece of clothing stuck in the escalator. The escalator continues to move and the person’s fingers, toes or body parts are trapped and sucked into the escalator’s metal teeth.
- Escalator accidents can also occur when someone trips and falls on the escalator.
- Elevator accidents can occur as a result of a fall down an elevator shaft.
- A person can be injured in an elevator by being crushed in the doors.
- Electrical shocks can occur when operating an elevator.
- A person could become trapped inside an elevator that drops suddenly.
These are just some of the common causes of elevator and escalator injuries. The risks of injury are exacerbated when store-owners or other property owners or managers fail to properly maintain their escalator or elevator. If a property owner or operator fails in its maintenance requirements and/or allows for dangerous conditions to exist on an escalator or elevator without warning patrons, the owner can be held legally responsible for the consequences of the injury.
Avoiding Elevator and Escalator Accidents
Property owners and operators of escalators and elevators are in the best position to make sure that this equipment is safe and that you do not suffer injury. However, there are also some things you can do to try to stay safe as you ride escalators or elevators this holiday season. For example, safety tips include:
- Tying your shoes before getting on an escalator.
- Keeping your hands on the top hand rail of the escalator to maintain stability but never on the sides of the escalator or near gaps.
- Watching out for gaps in the sides of the escalator that your clothing could be caught in.
- Supervising children carefully on escalators and elevators.
- Skipping loose clothing that could become caught in an escalator.
- Staying several steps back from an elevator shaft.
- Using the emergency phone and remaining calm when trapped in an elevator.
- Refraining from getting into an elevator if there is no emergency phone or if you have concerns about whether it has been properly maintained.
By following these and other safety tips, hopefully you can avoid elevator and escalator accidents this holiday season.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations to accidents victims. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Are elevators really hazardous to your health? The Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2011.
Danger on the Escalator, CBS News, February 11, 2009
NYC Traffic Accidents in Focus as Holidays Approach, New York Injury Lawyer Blog, November 19, 2012