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Which is Statistically Safer? Elevators or Escalators?

Elevators and escalators are a part of modern-day life. They are used out of both convenience and necessity, speeding our trips from one floor to another in airports and hospitals, helping the disabled to have the same access as abled people, and allowing heavy or bulky items to be lifted and delivered to all floors of both commercial and residential structures. Though these conveyances have made our lives easier, they can also lead to serious injury, and even to death, and many people are hesitant about using them. If you are concerned about elevator and escalator failures, you may find it helpful to know which is statistically safer – elevators or escalators. You may be surprised by what you learn.

If you had to guess which are more prevalent in the United States, which would you choose? Escalators or elevators. As it turns out there are roughly 900,000 elevators in the U.S. and only around 35,000 escalators. Still escalators are responsible for carrying more people. Escalators carry approximately 105 billion passengers per year, while elevators make only 18 billion.

People tend to assume that elevators are more dangerous than escalators, and they are correct. In the United States, elevators result in roughly 27 people being killed each year and roughly 10,200 injuries, while escalators result in an average of about two deaths per year and 6,000 injuries per year.

Most elevator deaths are experienced by repair and maintenance workers who are servicing the elevators or by those who use them as part of their daily work routine, and half of the deaths come from falling into the shaft, whether the person who dies is a repair person or a passenger. The other half of deaths are caused by being caught between the elevator and the shaft wall. These are generally a result of defects or malfunctions in the wiring or pulley systems, or in the door operation.

Escalator deaths are far rarer than elevator deaths, but in most cases both deaths and injuries are caused by people falling and experiencing head trauma. Most other escalator incidents are caused by passengers having their clothing caught at the top or bottom of the escalator or between the stair step and the side wall.

Unlike automobiles and personal equipment, the manufacturers of escalators and elevators are not subject to regulations such as federal accident inspections or parts recalls. This means that the public is not notified when defects are discovered. Instead, the manufacturer simply has to send a letter by certified mail to the equipment owner, and the public rarely knows about the existence of significant dangers. It is generally up to the owner to address the defect or part replacement that is required.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an escalator or elevator accident, it is important that you have a powerful advocate working on your side to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident and whether negligence played a role. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers we have the experience and resources you need to ensure that you get the justice you deserve. Call us today to set up a convenient time for a consultation.


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