Safety Tip: Easy Steps to Escalator Safety


Escalators typically are inspected by state or local agencies to ensure mechanical safety, and they safely move more people than any other form of transportation – more than 245 million riders daily on some 35,000 escalators in the United States. But accidents do happen, most often from unsafe riding or carelessness while getting on and off. About 90 percent of all escalator incidents involve senior citizens or small children. Addressing escalator safety in your facility can help protect riders – and your business.

Check these escalator safety tips from the National Elevator Industry and the North Carolina Department of Labor to help ensure a safe escalator ride:

When Entering an Escalator:

  • Look at the escalator, not your cell phone.
  • Check the direction of the escalator before you board. Never enter an escalator that is moving toward you.
  • Always pick up your feet and step carefully on or off the escalator.
  • Take extra care if you are wearing bifocals or similar eyewear, which can distort the entry area.
  • Senior citizens should pay particular attention to balance while getting on and off an escalator. It is easy to lose your balance because of the difference in momentum.
  • Keep one hand free to hold the handrail.
  • Do not board an escalator with a baby stroller, walker, luggage cart or similar items.
  • Do not ride an escalator if you are barefooted.
  • Always obey escalator caution signs posted on the escalator.

While Riding Escalators:

  • Stand in the center part of the step. Never drag or slide your feet along the edge.
  • Always face forward and hold the handrail. Reposition your hand slowly if the handrail moves faster or slower than the steps.
  • Always hold children’s hands on escalators and do not permit children to sit or play on the steps.
  • Do not sit on the handrail.
  • Do not lean against or reach over the sides of the escalator.
  • Be aware that loose shoe laces, drawstrings, scarves and mittens can get trapped in escalators.
  • Take extra precaution to avoid the sides of the escalator when wearing flip-flops or soft-soled shoes.

When Exiting:

  • Exit promptly from the escalator.
  • Make sure to step over the comb fingers; don’t let your feet slide off the end of the escalator.
  • Never stop, stand or play at an escalator landing; this can cause a dangerous pile up.
  • Use the emergency shutoff button if needed. The buttons are usually located at the entrances and exits of escalators.

More Escalator Safety Resources: