Defective Escalator Prematurely Resumes Service Causing Injuries

    Escalator Safety ExpertThis case involves an elderly woman that was injured on an escalator while shopping with her granddaughter. When they arrived at the mall, the escalator at the main entrance was out of order. When they were returning to their car, the escalator was back in service. The elderly woman and the granddaughter got on the escalator and the elderly woman’s pants subsequently got stuck and cleaved to the hip. They screamed for help, but there was no emergency stop button at the bottom of the escalator for anyone to hit. They both fell towards the bottom of the escalator. There was a piece of metal on the right wall of the escalator that was dislodged from the work that was being done earlier. It was protruding, bent, and out of shape. The woman fell right into it, causing a significant laceration and small fracture. An expert in escalator service was sought to evaluate if the escalator was put back into service too soon.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. How could an incident like this one have been prevented?

    Expert Witness Response E-139895

    In order to give a proper analysis, I would have to inspect the escalator. The piece of metal may have been an unsecured escalator skirt decking. The emergency STOP switch should have been located on the top and bottom turnaround of the unit, as per code. I have reviewed a similar case in which a 4-year-old child lost her finger in the escalator’s comb plate and steps when she fell.

    Expert Bio:

    This highly qualified expert has extensive experience in the realm of vertical transportation inspection and safety. He has completed a 4-year elevator apprentice program and received an elevator inspector HSS. He is a licensed elevator agency director and site safety coordinator by the department of buildings for a major metropolitan city. Formerly, he performed routine inspections on a variety of vertical transportation systems, including escalators and elevators. He currently owns a company specializing in instructional training courses on building safety and also works for an elevator/escalator inspection company as a safety training manager.

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