Elevator and Escalator Fatalities and Injuries

Are you one of those who takes the stairs because you are afraid of riding in an elevator or stepping onto an escalator? Or are you one of those who make fun of people who take the stairs to avoid an elevator or escalator? As it turns out, a fear of elevators and escalators may be legitimate. According to the CDC, every year, an average of 30 people die from elevator or escalator injuries. Another 17,000 are seriously injured.

Injuries and death from elevator and escalator accidents can be particularly gruesome because of the force of the mechanisms and the vulnerability of users.

Safety experts often advise: Before entering an elevator, pause to confirm the elevator car is present to prevent stepping into a void. Additionally, be mindful of loose garments around escalators to prevent them from getting snagged in the moving steps.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an escalator accident, contact an experienced Chicago escalator accident lawyer at Blumenshine Law Group in Chicago today at (312) 766-1000 for compassionate legal guidance and to schedule a free consultation. You can also use our online contact form. Let our dedicated personal injury team help you understand your legal options and fight to recover maximum compensation for your injuries.

Elevator Fatalities and Injuries

A 2018 report on elevator and escalator accidents was published by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). The organization studied deaths and injuries involving those who worked in or near elevators as well as deaths and injuries of elevator passengers.

elevator emergencies and injuries

Deaths and injuries to workers working on or near elevators

Between 1982 and 2010, there were 45 deaths of people who were working on or near elevators. The categories of the incidents are as follows:

  • 26 workers fell down an elevator shaft
  • 8 were struck by an elevator or got stuck in its mechanisms
  • 4 deaths occurred when the elevator they were in collapsed
  • 3 workers were electrocuted
  • 4 died from “unknown circumstances”

Deaths and injuries to passengers using an elevator while at work

Between 1992 and 2009, 89 people were killed who were using an elevator at their workplace just to move from one floor to the other. The majority of these deaths occurred when the elevator door opened, and the individuals stepped in and fell down an open shaft because the elevator car was not present. People have also died by being caught in between the door shaft and the elevator door.

Deaths and injuries to ordinary elevator passengers

Between 1997 and 2010, on average, five elevator passengers every year were killed. Slip and fall accidents accounted for about half of the deaths as people tripped as they entered or exited the elevator. The rest of the deaths were due to people stepping into an empty elevator shaft after the elevator door opened, but the elevator car had not arrived. Eight of those deaths occurred in Illinois.

Escalator Fatalities and Injuries

Deaths of those working on escalators as passengers were not reported. For regular passengers, those not at work, two people died every year for a total of 39 deaths during the period studied. Six of those occurred in Illinois. Nearly a third of the deaths were due to falls. The rest are referred to as “caught-in-between” accidents, which means the death occurred after a person’s clothing became caught between an escalator stair or sidewall.

Escalator Injuries

Safety Research and Strategies (SRS) has done its own study of elevator and escalator injuries. It found that although there are more elevators in the U.S. than escalators, you are 15 times more likely to be involved in an escalator injury than an elevator accident.

More than three-fourths of escalator injuries are due to falls, which cause severe injuries and even deaths. Small children and those 65 or older are the most common victims of escalator falls. Some fall on or off the escalator, and others lean too far over the side, falling off the escalator and landing on the floor below.

Elevator and Escalator Faulty Design Issues Contribute to Accidents

The CPWR report makes many recommendations for elevator safety improvement. They all involve better design and maintenance of elevators.

Some consultants report that escalators need a better design. For example, some engineers suggest that steps are not the correct width and move too fast. One expert said the basic design of escalators has not changed in decades. If design flaws were corrected, escalator injuries would be less frequent, and entrapments between the steps would be eliminated. Overloading the escalator would be less possible, which would also reduce accidents.

Elevator and Escalator Accident Attorneys

If you were seriously injured in an elevator or escalator accident, or a family member was killed in such an accident, call or text our elevator and escalator accident attorneys at the Blumenshine Law Group in Chicago at (312)766-1000 or email [email protected]. We offer free consultations.

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