According to statistics gathered in the last year, residents of Washington State still haven’t quite figured out how to ride an escalator. You see, a year ago a man was killed by an escalator. Rather, a man was killed while riding an escalator, because he failed to follow certain safety precautions. Since the death, there have been more than sixty recorded escalator related injuries. According to the Seattle Times, “On April 8, 2013, 42-year-old Maurecio Bell choked to death after his clothing got tangled in an escalator during the early morning hours at the University Street Station.” Bell reportedly lost his balance and fell onto his back, his necktie then became tangled in the moving stairs, and strangled the man to death. In an effort to promote “escalator safety,” L&I chief elevator inspector Jack Day recently spoke out on the issue. “An escalator accident can happen very fast,” said Day. “Injuries typically occur when people lose their balance while carrying packages or luggage.” Still, don’t lose all faith in escalators just yet. The Times reported that about seventy-percent of the reported accidents could have been avoided if riders had exercised reasonable precaution by using the handrail. Washington is not the only place where escalator safety is being stressed. According to the US National Library of Medicine, there are about 10,000 escalator related injuries nationwide every year. Further, it seems as if these moving deathtraps are affecting more and more citizens every year. According to the aforementioned site, “Since the 1990s, a steady increase [in escalator related injuries] has been reported.” A study was performed on escalator related injuries that found about half of the injured individuals required hospitalization. Further, the study reports that “Escalator accidents can result in severe trauma. Significant gender differences in escalator accidents have been observed. Alcohol intoxication and age are significant risk factors in escalator-related accidents and might be possible targets for preventive measures.” The gender differences however, seem trivial when taken in a context. However, alcohol intoxication is a significant contributor to these accidents, and it is suggested that intoxicated individuals take the stairs (or elevator, if you’re feeling fancy) to avoid
injury. ABC News also reports that Crocs, rubber clogs popular among young children and the elderly, may be contributing to the increase in accidents. Reportedly, “some people have reported that kids wearing Crocs have had their feet sucked into the side of escalators. Some businesses have even posted warning signs near their escalators saying if you’re
wearing Crocs, be careful.” As 2014 sets in, it will be important to make sure that escalator safety is stressed, so that we as a nation can overcome to dangers of riding those merciless moving stairs. On the anniversary of Mr. Bell’s death, folks should be sure to exercise every precaution in order to safeguard the health of all the daredevils, willing to ride the escalator.