Escalators are part of many people’s everyday lives. That means that, often, you probably don’t think twice about using an escalator. The dangers they present may not even cross your mind. However, escalators do cause injuries to many New Yorkers every year.
The truth is that, while little children and older adults may be at a higher risk of being injured on an escalator, anyone can suffer from serious injuries caused by them. That’s why it’s vital for people to understand the kinds of dangers presented by escalators and how to avoid them.
Here are some tips to help keep you safe and avoid a New York escalator accident.
Escalators: How To Identify a Dangerous One
An escalator may be familiar, but it’s also a major piece of machinery. It has many moving parts that can exert a lot of force on someone, leading to serious injuries. Accidents can and do happen on escalators that are functioning normally, but, if one is malfunctioning, it poses an even higher risk.
You can identify a dangerous escalator in a few ways, such as:
If you’ve been around escalators enough, then you know what types of sounds are normal. Any time you hear screeching, thumping, grinding, or other sounds that simply don’t seem right, it’s best to assume there is a safety issue that needs to be reported. You should avoid using the escalator.
Spaces and Gaps
Escalators aren’t supposed to have wide spaces between the steps. If they do, then that can lead to serious injury, as hands and feet can easily get caught in the gaps.
You know that escalators are supposed to have steps. If one is missing, or the sides or top of the steps are gone, then it’s dangerous. Loose and shaky steps are a serious safety concern, too.
Missing Foot Brush
The foot brush helps to keep people’s feet away from the panels of the escalator. If someone stands too close to the skirt of the escalator, the brushes are there to let them know. If the foot brush is missing, then riders have no idea how close they are to the sides. That puts them at a much higher risk for injury.
Comb Plates Missing
Comb plates are positioned at the bottom and top of the elevators. They have teeth that fit perfectly through the landings. If any of these teeth are missing, that can lead to entrapment and injury.
What To Do If You’re In an Escalator Emergency
If things go wrong when you’re on an escalator, your first instinct may be to get off any way possible or yell for help. Let’s get some basics straight.
Never jump over the side of an escalator. Always keep a firm grip on the handrails should an escalator abruptly stop. Refrain from screaming or yelling; it can make people panic and rush, which could lead to trampling. Calmly walk toward the safest exit from the escalator and clear the path of the exit once you dismount.
If you are injured by an escalator, get medical attention immediately. That may mean calling 911. You also need to report the incident to security or the management of the facility and obtain the contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the accident. If you can, take photos of the escalator and what went wrong. Use all of this data when you consult with an attorney, if you choose to seek damages for your injuries.