Moving walkways for shopping centers5 December 2022
Escalators are not a playground
In the eyes of children, escalators look like fun playgrounds that appear unexpectedly in boring shopping centers or subways.
The curiosity of children, combined with the increasingly common distraction of parents, leads to painful accidents and heavy feelings of guilt that could have been avoided with a minimum of prevention.
Even if escalators are increasingly widespread and used in every area of public and private transport, the perception of their potential danger, when common safety rules are not respected, is widely underestimated.
Yet, if we analyze the most recent statistics on user accidents, we discover that the little ones are unfortunately involved in numerous accidents, including fatal ones.
In addition to adult supervision, there are some devices that reduce the risk of children’ accidents.
The prevention and protection devices
- ANTI-CLIMB BARRIER Among these devices we mention for example the anti-climb barrier. It’s usually positioned on the external profile of the balustrade at a height of about 1 m. It is used to prevent a potential misuse by a user, who’s leaning on the handrail or is dragged by the handrail itself, from reaching a height of fall considered dangerous.
- PROTECTIVE AND PREVENTIVE DEVICES Another dangerous area is the area of the handrail inlet because it attracts children’ curiosity. This area is positioned at a height that can be easily reached by children and brings various opportunities for discovery (for example: “What happens to the handrail when it enters the inlwr area?”). Due to these characteristics, handrail inlet is one of the areas where more children accidents happen. The regulations prescribe the presence of a protective device in the handrail inlet area (brush or rigid protection) and a sensor that activates a switch when a foreign body is detected (which could potentially be the child’s hand). Consider that an escalator complying with safety regulations and operating at a speed of 0.5 m / s (like most installations in Italy and in Europe), shall be able to stop between a minimum of 20cm and a maximum of 100cm of travel path of the step band, when a safety device is triggered. Unfortunately, even if the escalators may shut down quickly, the imaginary hand of a child will have been dragged into the inlet for such a length that can’t but provoke an injury.
- ANTI-ENTANGLEMENT BRUSHES Other potentially dangerous areas (danger of entanglement) are the areas of the combs, where the steps insert under the cob carrier plate, and the side areas of the skirtings, due to the danger of entanglement.In the latter case, the legislation has prescribed that anti-entanglement brushes must be installed on both sides of the step band.Also in this case, children are frequently noticed playing dangerously with one foot. All this happens even though they are (correctly) holding on to the handrail and are accompanied by adults unaware of the potential risk.
The importance of correct maintenance
It is therefore essential to ensure that the escalator is properly maintained that all safety devices are correctly installed and that, where they are installed, they are fully functional.
For example, it is essential to ensure that there are no more than two consecutive broken teeth in the combs and that, if it is possible to access the external side of the balustrade, the installation of an anti-climb barrier is foreseen.
This is particularly important for the entire installations park, as it could happen that, for very dated escalators, the legislation in force at the time of installation didn’t foresee some protective guards and safety devices that have been introduced later.
#SMI can make a difference in helping elevator companies to reduce the product responsibility of their customers by providing and maintaining updated and safe installations even for the little ones.
Escalator user accidents Report
Anti-climb barrier data sheet
Handrail inlet and handrail inlet switch – Data sheet