The general public does not understand that stopped escalators are not to be used as stairs. A broken escalator should always be barricaded. The leading type of escalator accident, as with stairs, is losing your balance and falling (per the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation).
Walking on a stopped escalator creates a tripping hazard for passengers because the steps are as much as three-fourths of an inch higher than those on most stairways and have metal ridges that run together, making them difficult to see. Escalator steps also are slick metal and have multiple sharp metal edges.
The Escalator = Stairs Myth Debunked
So, is it a myth that if an escalator is standing still, it is just a set of stairs? As escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner, the risk of falling or tripping is increased when they are used this way.
Otis, Schindler and Kone are among the leading manufacturers of escalators worldwide.
Otis, warns in its materials: “Don’t use an inoperative escalator as a stairway.” Schindler: warns in its materials, “Do not permit use of an inoperative escalator as a stairway.”
Kone’s Patrick O’Connell, was quoted to explain why escalators are not to be used as stairs: “Escalator step height greatly varies when an escalator is stationary, especially at the top and bottom, creating a potential tripping hazard.”
Apex Elevators warns “Don't use an inoperative escalator as a stairway.”
Sterling Elevator Consultants says. “Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner. The risk of falling or tripping is increased when they are used this way.”
Canada’s TSSA Escalator Safety Guide states: Myth: If an escalator is not in motion, it is just a set of stairs. Truth: Not at all! Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner. The risk of tripping and falling is greatly increased.
The Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation call the stairs-but-not-really thing a myth. “Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner. The risk of falling and tripping is increased,” a facilitator guide states.
Building Code Violations
Escalator steps do not comply with the building code. The rise of the steps is generally too high and, depending on where the escalator is stopped, there are usually some steps which are not even. Both these situations can cause a tripping hazard. This is particularly hazardous when walking down the escalator.
There is even something called the 'broken escalator phenomenon', namely the sensation that when walking onto an escalator which is stationary one experiences an odd sensation of imbalance, despite full awareness that the escalator is not going to move.
So, if you encounter a broken escalator, please take the stairs. Stay safe!
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