The public must take precautions to prevent escalator mishaps.

THERE is an urgent need for building management entities and companies providing technical support to perform safety audit on the escalators in their premises.

They have to ensure that the escalators are safe to use, especially during weekends and school holidays.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is concerned about public safety following two recent incidents involving escalators.

On March 5, a 20-year-old woman injured her foot on the escalator at Sunway Pyramid while on March 8, a 38-year-old woman fractured her toes when her foot was caught in a travelator at a shopping mall in Subang Jaya.

These cases have highlighted once again the safety of escalator operations and usage.

Over the years, there have been numerous escalator accidents involving young children due to neglience.

Department of Occupational Safety and Health Malaysia (DOSH) director-general Datuk Mohtar Musri had, in June last year, said 11,600 escalators were registered nationwide, with about 10 per cent of them not in use.

The department also received 31 reports of accidents involving escalators between 2011 and May 2015.

It also found that 2,747 escalators and elevators in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya failed to meet safety standards in 2014.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act 1994, it is the responsibility of employers or building owners to ensure that the escalators in their premises are in safe working condition.

They must display proper signage on safety and remind people to be cautious during escalator maintenance.

The management of shopping complexes must pay more attention to safety and remind the public on the safe use of escalators, travelators and elevators.

All repair work must be undertaken by competent firms and engineers endorsed by DOSH, and all escalators must be certified by the department.

NIOSH hopes that mall operators will engage architects to incorporate safety features in escalators to prevent mishaps that could lead to injuries or death.

Apart from building owners, parents are also advised to guide their children in using the escalators in shopping complexes.

Users should take the following precautionary measures:

MAKE sure shoelaces are not loose and proper footwear is worn when using the escalator;

ADULTS should hold children’s hands firmly and not allow them to sit or play on a moving escalator;

FACE forward, stand towards the middle of the steps and hold the handrail;

DO not stand to the side of the steps to avoid getting your foot trapped;

KNOW where the emergency Stop button is in case you need to stop the escalator;

DO not place bags or packages on the handrail; and,

DO not lean against the handrail.

Escalators are said to be among the safest forms of transportation, but accidents can occasionally occur as a result of unsafe riding practices such as using handphones while riding on an escalator.

So, the public must change their attitude and take precautions to prevent escalator mishaps.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE

Chairman, National Institute of
Occupational Safety and Health,
Selangor

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