Even after new safety standards were introduced and added to building codes in the country, children in Atlanta continue to be in danger of escalator injuries caused when their shoes or clothing get snagged in the gaps at the sides of the escalator.
A report last month highlights some of the most dangerous areas in Atlanta that have escalators concealing a high risk for accidents and injuries to children.These include Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (“MARTA”), as well as numerous malls where a number of these injuries occur every week. It’s not just children who have been at risk for injuries caused by escalators.Teenagers and adults have had their shoes and clothing snagged in the gaps.People have been dragged down when the edges of their coats were caught in these gaps, ending in a dislocation of the shoulder, and in other cases, have lost their balance and fallen over. Toes and feet have been badly mangled when their shoes have been caught in these gaps.
Many of these accidents have involved children’s shoes, especially Crocs. The problem has been severe enough for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to even warn about these, and confirm that these shoes had been worn by an overwhelming majority of people involved in escalator accidents.The shoes now come with a safety tag warning for such injuries.
In 2000, the escalator industry added a number of escalator safety regulations to its standards, and these have also been included in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers code of standards.Flash forward to 2009, and we don’t even know if these standards have brought about any reduction in the number of accidents.That’s because the CPSC has conducted no new studies about the efficacy of these new regulations.The agency seems to believe that any escalator accidents that have occurred since 2000 have taken place because of the faulty design of Crocs shoes, and, reassuringly enough, have left it at that. The elevator industry meanwhile, has said that its escalators are safe, and that the number of accidents that occur every week is minuscule compared to the number of people who ride these daily.
This seems to be yet another example of how industry and federal agencies fail the ultimate victim –the ordinary citizen.While the CPSCprefers to sit tight and wait till the next horribly mangling incident sparks outrage, escalator manufacturers also seem to be content adopting a "wait and watch" approach.It remains to the efforts of the media, Atlanta personal injury lawyers and citizen safety groups to keep this issue alive in the public consciousness.