Articles Posted in Escalator Accidents

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Elevator accidents in Massachusetts are a top concern for members of the Board of Elevator Regulations. These regulators oversee the installation, construction, operation and alteration of elevators throughout the state. “Elevator” is used to describe vertical reciprocating conveyors, material lifts, moving walks, dumbwaiters, moving stairways, automatic people movers, dumbwaiters with automatic transfer devices and other similar devices that are used within the elevator industry, according to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Everyone working within this industry including repair people, maintenance workers, elevator constructors and operators, are required to be licensed by the board.
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Our Leominster elevator accident lawyers understand that elevators and escalators cause deadly injuries to nearly 50 people every year nationwide. In addition to these fatalities, accidents involving these devices injure another 20,000 people ever year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, elevators specifically cause roughly 90 percent of these fatalities and another 60 percent of these injuries. Injuries to people who work near or on elevators account for about 15 percent of these fatalities every year. Some of the most common causes of death involving elevators include falls into the shaft, getting caught between moving parts and collapsing elevator platforms.

That’s why the Board of Elevator Regulations is here, to help to reduce the risks of these kinds of accidents. The board is made up of eight people who have been appointed to serve by the governor. These members serve under the authority of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 143, sections 62-71G.

Every single elevator in the state, excluding those in single-family, owner-occupied houses, is required to pass a practical test and an inspection every year. Elevators in single-family, owner-occupied houses are required to be inspected every five years. If a new elevator is installed anywhere in the state, it must be inspected by an official. If an elevator is altered in any way, it must also be inspected again.

As soon as an elevator passes this inspection, the ‘certificate of inspection’ must be displayed. The owner of each elevator is required to make sure that the elevator is inspected in a timely manner.

Elevator Safety Tips:

-Before boarding an elevator, stand aside to allow room for exiting riders.

-Hold children and pets closely and firmly.

-Take the stairs if there’s a fire!

-Hold the handrail once you’ve boarded.

-Keep an eye on the floor indicators. Be ready to exit when you arrive at your floor.

-Never try to force the doors open or closed.

-If an elevator stops, never try to escape it. Sit tight and wait for assistance.

-If an elevator’s floor isn’t level with the floor you’re on or wish to get off on, stay put.

-If the doors do not open when the elevator stops, push the “Door Open” button.

-If the elevator gets stuck, stay calm. There is plenty of air and the interior of the elevator is designed for passenger safety.

-Don’t try to stop a closing door with anything, including hands, feet, personal belongings etc. Just wait for the next elevator.

-Hang on and wait for the next car if the elevator is full. Never try to squeeze in.
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Shoppers in Massachusetts who survived Black Friday without injury should consider it a small feat considering it is the most dangerous shopping day of the year. Even though the big event is over, shoppers and consumers will still be packing malls and shopping venues in the weeks to come, on the hunt for irresistible deals and gifts.
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Injuries from shopping accidents in Massachusetts are more common this time of year when a business or merchant doesn’t take the necessary precautions to keep their premises hazard free.

We remind you of the post we did in October on our Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog when we reported that a Massachusetts woman is filing for compensation following a 2006 shopping injury at a WalMart that left the bone in her ring finger exposed. The woman had tried to reach for a gift located on the top shelf and snagged her ring on a metal latch sticking out from the shelf. This accident, also known as degloving, could have been avoided if the WalMart had ensured customer safety by properly maintaining the property.

Boston premise liability lawyers find in many cases that retailers and store owners are considered negligent if they knowingly leave a hazard unattended. Maintaining the store property, including parking lots, sidewalks, and inside the premises is vital to keeping customers and employees free from injury.

There are several types of shopping-related injuries but the most common is slip and fall accidents, which are sometimes caused by an icy sidewalk, a freshly mopped floor, or cluttered aisles to name a few. Shopping cart injuries are also common this time of year when a child’s finger gets stuck, a cart topples over or is left unattended in an overcrowded parking lot. Head and neck injuries can often result when a customer is struck by a falling object from a shelf or boxes fall from an unsafely stacked store display.

Elevator and escalator injuries are also common when customers are riding and experience a malfunction. Overcrowding on these riding apparatuses can make them dangerous and present an exit hazard when customers can’t escape during an emergency situation.

Store owners and merchants are also responsible for keeping parking lots safe and hazard free. This means keeping surveillance cameras functioning properly, security cars patrolling the area and maintaining a well-lit parking environment to protect shoppers from assault or theft when they return to their cars. If a winter storm dumps an accumulation of snow, clearing the lots and sidewalks and laying down salt on top should be a top priority to prevent a slip and fall accident from occurring.

Shoppers are urged to use extra caution this time of year as stores will be overcrowded and liable for accidents. Keep close tabs on your children in the store and in the parking lot. Stay alert for shopping hazards like displays or falling objects. Try to avoid shopping after dark or during the busiest parts of the day like lunchtime or after work.
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Dangerous elevators and escalators are serious issues in cities and towns across the United States. In our state, many of these devices are used every day by commuters who use the MBTA to get around town. When these devices are not working properly and safely, elevator and escalator accidents in Boston can result. Companies have a responsibility to ensure that these devices are working safely and properly. When they aren’t, injuries or deaths can result.
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Boston isn’t the only big city with this problem. Our Massachusetts elevator and escalator accident attorneys would like to tell you about the recent problem in New York City as well. According to FOX 5, there have been continuous investigations into the city’s out-of-service devices. These escalators and elevators located throughout Manhattan subway stations have been working improperly for years. The target of a recent investigation was the Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street station. Officials report that at any one time, at least one out of every 11 transit authority escalators are shut down.

When these devices are put out-of-service, people are forced to use the stairs, which could pose slip-and-fall risks, especially during inclement weather. This mainly applies to children and elderly riders.

When escalators and elevators aren’t working properly, they also cause congestion among riders on the subway platforms too. When these areas are overcrowded, the risks of people being shoved onto the tracks can increase.

In New York, FOX 5 reported that many of the out-of-service escalators were owned by private companies even though they’re used in the city’s subway stations. These companies no longer take care of these devices because the city cut the deal they made with them. The deals were cut to save more money for the construction of larger buildings.

To help raise awareness about the importance of keeping elevators and escalators in good-working condition, the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation hosts National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week during the second week of November every year. Through this week-long campaign, the foundation hopes to recruit the support of residents throughout the country to help raise awareness about the importance of properly working elevators and escalators.

Every year, there are nearly 50 people killed and another 17,000 people injured because of accidents on escalators and elevators in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Tips to help keep you safe when riding an escalator:

-Be sure you know which way the stairs are heading before stepping on.

-Hold the hands of small children.

-Hold on to loose items in one hand and place the other hand on the hand rail.

-Keep loose clothing away from steps.

-Don’t ride with hand carts, luggage carts, wheelchairs, strollers, etc.

-Always face forward.

-Never walk up an escalator that is not running.

-Don’t climb on the handrail.

-Step over the comb fingers when stepping off. Don’t just slide your feet off.

-Move clear after exiting and make room for riders stepping off behind you.
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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.
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As we enter the final holiday season shopping rush, customers and employees are at increased risk of Boston elevator accidents or escalator accidents. Poor maintenance, large crowds, aging equipment, wet or slippery flooring and injuries caused by other passengers are the leading causes of such accidents.

Children and the elderly are most at risk. As we reported earlier this year on our Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, accidents on MBTA property may also cause such injury. In July, a child was seriously injured after getting his shoe caught in an escalator at an MBTA station while visiting Boston with family.
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Each year, the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 30 people are killed and 17,000 are seriously injured in elevator and escalator accidents.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following safety tips:

-Secure loose clothing. Shoe laces, drawstrings, scarves and mittens may be trapped in escalators.

-Hold a child’s hand and do not permit children to sit on steps and play on walls or railings.

-Do not bring carts or strollers onto escalators.

-Always face forward and utilize hand rails.

-Avoid the edges, where entrapment most frequently occurs.

-Know where the shutoff is located in case of emergency.

Industry safety standards require a number of safety features, including:

-An emergency shutoff located at the top and bottom.

-Sidewalls made of low-friction material.

-Use of skirt obstruction devices, which shut off the system if foreign objects are present.

-Clearance of no more than 3/16ths of an inch at the edges.

-Warning signs regarding the danger to children.

-Brightly colored foot prints or borders on each step.
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An 8-year-old tourist has been hospitalized after being seriously injured in a Boston escalator accident at a MBTA station, according to NECN.

Instead of heading to Maine for a family wedding the girl is at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, where she is being treated for a serious foot injury that could result in amputation of her big toe.

The incident occurred after a family outing for dinner on Monday night. As they were taking the T back to their motel, Neil’s plastic Croc shoe got tangled in the escalator. The escalator reportedly kept churning even after the girl’s father and an attendant began pounding on the kill switch.

By the time the girl was freed, part of her foot was crushed.

Part of the blame could rest with the Croc shoes, which have been linked to serious escalator injuries for years. In such cases, a Massachusetts product liability claim may be filed to recover damages for an injury victim.

But that doesn’t answer questions about why the escalator kill switch failed. Last year, an elderly Boston woman strangled to death when the kill switch failed on a T escalator.

The MBTA’s words of wisdom? Parents should be “extra vigilant” when traveling with children. Sorry, but passengers are not required to use “extra vigilance” to protect themselves from poorly maintained escalators or other negligence conditions on MBTA’s property.

That is MBTA’s responsibility and the system can and should be held liable for the damages that result — both to compensate injured victims and to ensure that corrective action is taken that prevents a similar incident from occurring in the future.
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