How To Prevent Escalator Injuries In Your Store

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If you own a large multi-story store that sells clothing, sporting goods, or general merchandise, then you may have an escalator to help individuals move easily from one story of the business to the next. While you may understand that wet floors as well as stacked boxes in walkways are likely to invite personal injuries, so can an escalator. This may leave you on the hook for monetary compensation when an injured person files a personal injury claim. To avoid this from happening, make sure your escalator is safe with some of the following tips.

Install Fire Safety Devices

In 1987, a serious escalator incident occurred in London where an escalator exploded and actually killed 31 people. While an explosion related incident like this is very unlikely to happen to the escalator in your store, a fire can occur. The initial London explosion was caused by the accumulation of paper, lint, and other debris inside the escalator. This caused the machinery to explode, and this same sort of problem can cause a fire to occur as well, especially since it is not easy to stop debris from accumulating. Most escalators contain drive gears and connected chains that continually move the circular set of chairs around. The entire escalator may need to be dismantled to access the inner gears, chains, and other moving parts to remove debris.

This means that it is wise to have devices installed on the escalator so that debris cannot fall down through the stairs and around the sides. Closing the side spaces, called the balustrade skirt, off with brushes is one of the best ways to keep debris away. This also helps to prevent escalator entrapment where individuals get shoelaces and long clothing caught against the slim openings along the side walls of the escalator. The brushes on the escalator are called deflector or skirt brushes and they are adhered to the side walls of the escalator with the assistance of pins or other metal fasteners. This means that you should contact your escalator maintenance specialist to install the brushes. Some of these brushes can also be added to the edges of the stairs as well as the floor plates to force debris away from stair and floor openings.

Along with the brush attachments, make sure that an emergency stop button is positioned and clearly marked on the top and bottom of each escalator. If a fire does occur, then this will shut down the motor so the fire does not worsen and people can easily get off the escalator. Also, a fire sprinkler system that utilizes water misting or spray nozzles on the side walls of the escalator is a good idea to cut down on burn injuries and potential lawsuits. 

Warn Against Improper Footwear

Escalators stairs are built with small teeth on the end that allow the stairs to seamlessly fit into one another as they collapse and move around underneath the escalator. The teeth also allow the stairs to create the platform at the top and bottom of the escalator so patrons can walk on and off the device. These teeth are designed in a way that shoes cannot be gripped by the teeth as two stairs meet. Typically, if hard rubber, canvas, or leather parts of the shoe come into contact with the teeth, your shoe will be forced backward a small amount so the stairs can continue their movement. However, this is not the case when it comes to extremely soft materials. Many children wear foam rubber clog shoes during the summer months, and the lightweight and flexible shoes are the ones that can be gripped and pulled in by the teeth of the escalator. This is also true of foam-lined sandals, and feet can be scraped or crushed in the process.

One of the best ways to keep these sort of injuries from occurring is to place signs at the top and bottom of the escalator to indicate that clog shoes and sandals cannot be worn when using the devices due to injury risks. Make sure that signs also indicate where stairs and elevators are located so individuals can still navigate your store easily.