Child Loses Fingers in Retail Store Accident

    retail expert wintessThis case involves a six-year-old female who suffered a severe injury in a large retail store. The child was shopping with her mother for back-to-school items over the weekend. While riding the escalator to the third floor of the store, the escalator’s movement quickly stopped and restarted, jolting the child forward onto the steps. The young girl fell forward and her fingers slipped into a broken area of the escalator. As a result, her four fingers were completely severed and she experienced significant blood loss.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. In a retail setting, what precautions are in place to ensure that an escalator is in safe working condition?

    Expert Witness Response

    A safe shopping environment is a top priority in a retail store setting and there are very clear guidelines that adhere to escalator safety. All escalators installed in the United States must comply with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, ASME A17.I. This requires regular inspection by trained and certified inspectors. Additionally, consistent escalator maintenance is imperative to ensure a safe riding environment. There are many moving parts on an escalator that can be dangerous to all riders, especially young children. Clothing, shoe laces, hair, and fingers can get caught between the stair tread and panels as they move through the cycling motion. Stop and start buttons should be clearly marked in case of an accident and safety signs should be visible to convey safe riding practices. This escalator should have been properly inspected in accordance with ASME A17.I to ensure safe operation and to correct any broken areas of the mechanism. I have extensive experience in the retail sector and over fifteen years of experience as a trained and qualified escalator safety inspector.

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