Elderly suffer brunt in most escalator cases

Elderly suffer brunt in most escalator cases
User behaviour main cause of 63 escalator incidents since Nov 1, says BCA.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

A 71-year-old man fell three metres from an escalator at Tiong Bahru MRT last Friday.

The retiree, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chiang, was supporting his wife when she became unsteady on her feet.

Last month, a 64-year-old man tumbled down an escalator at Bishan MRT.

He has undergone two major brain surgeries, reported Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News yesterday.

These two incidents are not unusual.

Since Nov 1, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has received reports of 63 incidents relating to the use of escalators.

About 78 per cent, or 49 incidents, involved those aged above 60.

An overwhelming majority of the incidents - 95 per cent - was caused by user behaviour, BCA statistics showed.

Only three were due to mechanical faults, such as the handrail stopping while the escalator was still moving.

Based on BCA's investigations, the most common causes of incidents involved users carrying heavy or bulky objects, and those who lose their balance while on the escalators.

Read also: Man's foot gets stuck in Bugis Junction escalator

Bugis Junction escalator accident: Man treated for toe injury

There were also reports of users who fell due to inattentiveness, intoxication, being unwell, or from leaning against the sides of the escalator.

There are more than 6,000 escalators in Singapore.

BCA has introduced new regulations on escalator maintenance from Nov 1.

Escalator owners and registered escalator contractors are now required to notify BCA as soon as practicable when an incident involving any death or injuries to passengers, or if a malfunction of safety critical components, occurs.

For incidents related to mechanical fault, BCA will suspend the operation of the escalator, and it will only be allowed to resume operation with BCA's consent.

In a statement yesterday, BCA said: "Even though escalators are equipped with safety devices... accidents may still happen if users do not take greater care when using the escalators."

Read also: Retiree in coma after falling on Bishan MRT station escalator for the second time

SAFE USE

The BCA urged the public to practise safe use of escalators, especially in crowded areas such as shopping malls and train stations.

In August, the Public Transport Council recommended reducing escalator speeds at train stations as senior citizens might be intimidated by fast-moving escalators.

The Straits Times reported in the same month that the Land Transport Authority and transport operator SMRT would lower the speeds of escalators at train stations during off-peak hours.

Mr Chiang, who suffered multiple injuries, told The New Paper yesterday that he is thankful to be alive and is worried about taking the escalator again.

"I'm still afraid just thinking about the incident and I will take the lift in the future," he said.

Read also: Metal piece from escalator pierces kid's shoe at AMK Hub

tnp@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 30, 2016.
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