Thursday, May 15, 2008

Older Adults, Common Victims of Escalator Accidents

A new study finds that older adults are more prone to accident related with riding of escalators. In like manner, news has reported, dated March 21, with the heading, “More Seniors Falling Victim to Escalator Injuries” that older Americans is being injured during slips and falls on escalators at increasing rates.

The same item relates that the rate of injuries to older adults riding escalators more than doubled from 1991 to 2005. In figures, the study has found that during that year that nearly 40,000 adults age 65 and older were injured on escalators.

The item also related the common reasons of the trend of increasing escalator accidents of older adults. Specifically, shifts in lifestyle of older adults, poor equilibrium, decreased visual acuity, coordination problems, changes in muscle strength and balance, and lack of agility.

Escalators have brought so many benefits to people especially the older ones. Escalators are the convenient way of transporting people, things or goods up and down short vertical distances. As described, it is the safest means of getting from one floor to another especially while in malls, department stores, airports, transit systems, hotels, convention centers.

Safety is also major concern in escalator design. However, ironically speaking, despite its perfect utility and design, several cases of injuries and accidents, especially with older adults, related with escalator riding have happened. Why is that? Practically, there are number of reasons that caused these eventualities. Enumerating them could be a worthless endeavor.

What is paramount then is to know some safety precautions to minimize, or if not to eliminate these accidents.
Thus, here are the safe riding points that everyone, especially the adult one, to consider in riding escalators: To prevent from falling, step out at the end of the stairs.
  • Always check for loose garments especially when you are wearing long dresses, scarves or trench coats. In addition, be mindful for loose shoelaces. They are often notorious for being caught in escalator machinery.
  • Do not ride barefoot.
  • Do not use the escalator when you are with a walker or on crutches.
  • If the escalator is motionless, do not use the same. The risk of tripping and falling is greatly increased.
  • Always face forward.
  • Always take hold of the handrail.
  • Keep away footwear from the side panels.
  • To prevent accumulation, keep walking after exiting the escalator.
  • Stand to one side of the escalator to give way to others who may want to pass you.
These were all the practical tips for safe riding.
Nevertheless, when things go wrong and when you have been involved in an escalator accident, it is always necessary to seek timely medical attention. More so, you may want to confer with an attorney for possible recovery of compensation or damages against the operator of the escalator.