Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has announced that since the new regulations on escalator maintenance kicked in on 1 November, 95 percent of 63 escalator mishaps reported were due to user behaviour.
It noted that only three incidents were due to mechanical faults such as the handrail stopping while the escalator was still in operation.
Singapore has more than 6,000 escalators. The new rule requires any incident involving death or injury to passengers or the malfunction of safety-critical components to be reported to BCA.
It said that it will suspend the operation of the escalator for incidents related to mechanical fault and noted that the owner is required to engage an authorised examiner to investigate the cause of the incident and recommend rectification works.
The escalator will only be allowed to resume operation with BCA’s consent.
BCA stated that the most common cause of escalator incidents was users carrying heavy or bulky objects and losing their balance when travelling on the escalators.
The Authority said that it also received reports of incidents in which escalator users fell due to inattentiveness, intoxication, being unwell or from leaning against the sides of the escalator.
BCA also observed that about 78 per cent of the incidents involved people above the age of 60, saying, “Generally, it was also observed that about 78 per cent of the incidents involved the elderly (above the age of 60).”
BCA urged the public to practise safe use of escalators, especially in crowded areas such as shopping malls and train stations during the year-end festive season.
In November, a man got injured when he trapped his foot in an escalator at Bugis Junction mall. While, in early this month, a domestic helper from Myanmar was injured after she fell down an escalator at Ngee Ann City.
Dr John Keung, chief executive of BCA, said, “We are working with escalator owners in shopping malls, schools, hospitals as well as train operators to disseminate ‘Safe Use of Escalators’ posters. The posters illustrate safety tips that users should observe when using escalators to prevent incidents from happening. It is important for everyone to do their part to ensure the safe use of escalators.”
Tips for Safe Use of Escalators :
- Hold on to the handrail and stand within the yellow lines on the escalator steps, where marked.
- Be mindful when using escalators, and avoid being distracted by mobile devices.
- Young children should always be accompanied and closely supervised by adults when on the escalator. Make sure that they do not play or run on the escalator, or lean over the handrail.
- Do not linger at the landing areas to avoid obstructing other users.
- Avoid leaning or standing too near to the sides of the escalators as clothing or soft footwear may get trapped between the gaps of the escalators.
- Passengers with trolleys, prams, luggage, heavy items, who have limited mobility, are intoxicated or feeling unwell should use the lifts instead.
- In the event of an escalator incident, the public is advised to press the emergency stop button and call for assistance immediately.