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Failure to inspect escalators causing a high risk of injury at Massachusetts shopping malls

We all ride on escalators occasionally, some of us even ride every day, but does the thought ever cross your mind how safe you are while riding on them? A recent tragedy reported by the Boston Globe reminds us of the high risk of an escalator accident in Massachusetts, especially when we have small children riding with us.

Escalators are common in malls, train and subway stations, professional sport venues, and airports. The recent fatal accident at Auburn Mall involved a 4-year-old boy who fell off the moving escalator after he had grabbed the moving railing with two hands. The young boy sustained a severe head injury when he fell from the second floor onto a store display case. He died later at the hospital.
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State records have shown that officials in charge of inspecting escalators in Massachusetts shopping malls over the last three years are failing to do their job, the Globe reported. Inspection reports found that only 44 out of 188 escalators at major shopping malls throughout the state were inspected properly from 2008 to 2010. Escalators are to be inspected annually but many were missed at least once, and some missed two consecutive years during the three year period. The inspections that were completed often found that escalators need repaired for numerous problems — 22 of them were shut down because they were deemed unsafe.

There were 12 new inspectors hired in 2010 but even with the addition, state officials claim they don’t have enough manpower to keep up with the 900 escalators and 34,000 elevators that need inspected annually in Massachusetts. In order to avoid backlog, the 51 inspectors would need to conduct 700 inspections a year. The state has an obligation to make safety a top priority because losing lives as a result of failing to get the job done is unacceptable.

The following are safety tips for using an elevator offered by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority:

-Hang on to small children when riding on the escalator.

-Always use an elevator for strollers, wheelchairs, pushchairs or buggies whenever possible.

-Step on and off the escalator carefully.

-Stand to the right side of the escalator and hold on to the top part of the handrail. Never grab on to the moving part.

-Make sure your shoelaces are tied and not dragging. Never stand at the edge of the stair.

-Stand facing forward at all times.

The personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman LLC are dedicated to fighting for the rights of victims and their families in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. If you have been injured in an escalator accident or need advised about your rights, call 1-877-617-5333 for a free consultation.