KUALA LUMPUR: A nationwide operation will start next week to perform random checks on mall escalators after a toddler lost part of his foot in a horrific accident here.
Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Dosh) said the checks would look at safety equipment, design and maintenance history of escalators - particularly in the Klang Valley.
Director-general Datuk Mohtar Musri the department was doing this on its own initiative out of "great concern", following the Feb 8 incident at a shopping mall here.
"Usually we inspect escalators once every 15 months to renew their licence, while the complexes are expected to hire competent persons or firms to do maintenance every two months.
"This will be on top of the normal inspections. We will look at the safety equipment on the escalators and whether the complex has the proper design codes and signages based on our checklist," he said.
He said these escalators should be regularly maintained and have approved safety features like emergency stop buttons, yellow demarcation lines on steps and skirt brushes.
"If they don't have these, we can stop the usage of the escalators or take action against the owners. They can be fined up to RM150,000 or two years jail," Mohtar said.
Last week, four-year-old Dzil Mikhail Nasaruddin had his lower left foot severed when he got stuck in the escalator at KL Sentral.
Between 2011 and May 2015, there have been 31 similar cases reported to the department.
However, Mohtar said investigations into Dzil Mikhail's case revealed that the escalator in question was working fine and that it had been maintained regularly and had the safety features.
He advised escalator users, especially parents with young children, to be more cautious when using the people mover.
"Make sure their feet are within the yellow demarcation line and children wearing sandals or rubber shoes should be given more attention, as they can pulled or get stuck in the moving escalator," said Mohtar.
Dosh would also hold talks with representatives from the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association and Malaysian Lift and Escalator Association to find more ways to prevent cases like Dzil Mikhail's incident from happening again.