Escalator, Elevator, and Moving Walkway Accidents
Escalators, elevators, and moving walkways help move large quantities of people from place to place, helping keep crowds flowing and moving towards another floor or exit. Found in shopping centers, airports, railway stations, subway stations, and commercial buildings, escalators, elevators, and moving walkways can be found both inside and outside of these commercial centers.
Like any mechanical device, however, these escalators, elevators, and moving walkways must be routinely serviced and maintained to ensure the safety of riders. Failure to maintain and service these items may result in death or serious injury to the riders.
U.S. Escalator and Elevator Statistics
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 30 people die and 17,000 people are injured each year from elevator or escalator accidents. 90% of the deaths and 60% of the serious injuries occur when the elevators malfunction. Half of the deaths, however, involve workers at or near the elevator or escalator who either get caught between moving parts or platform of the elevator or escalator, or are struck by the elevator or counterweight.
Hong Kong Escalator Accidents
In late March, 18 people were injured in a Hong Kong shopping mall when an escalator suddenly reversed direction and increased speed. The riders lost their balance and fell from the jolt. At least one person suffered a head injury. The possible cause of the escalator accident was the anti-reversal gear and auxiliary safety gear. In a strange twist, the escalator mechanics were arrested after the accident because they had tampered with the machinery. Witnesses report that the speed of the escalator doubled after reversal causing the people on it to fall and pileup at the bottom of the escalator. The mall, a 15-story structure with close to 200 stores, receives 200,000 visitors daily.
Two other escalator accidents were reported in Hong Kong following the mall accident. This time the escalators were in subway stations. In the first accident, riders reported smoke. Firefighters extinguished the fire and believe it was caused by dust that caught fire while welding work was being performed near the elevator. The second accident also involved smoke and a small fire. The fire is believed to have been caused by overheated hydraulic fluid.
All three accidents from Hong Kong show the importance of maintenance of the escalators. While the subway accidents did not injure any of the riders, the mall incident injured 18 people, one quite seriously.
Injured in an Elevator, Escalator or Moving Walkway Accident? Call Cash, Krugler & Fredericks
The law firm of Cash, Krugler & Fredericks represents victims of serious injuries because of the negligence or intentional misconduct of others. When the injuries lead to the death of a loved one, family members may pursue wrongful death actions in addition to the survivor suit. Specializing in auto and trucking accidents, spinal cord injuries, elevator, escalator, and walkways accidents, brain injuries, medical malpractice, defective products, and premise liability matters, contact Cash Krugler & Fredericks to schedule a comprehensive review of your claim or call us at (404) 659-1710.