Stairs, Steps, and Escalator Safety

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Allied Universal Security Officers going down escalators - escalator safety

If you are like most adults, you will probably use the stairs over 500,000 times in your life! With all of those steps, you may have had a few instances of slipping, stumbling, or falling. With that kind of experience, many people don’t consider walking up or down the stairs to be a high-risk activity. However, even the smallest instance can make that daily walk up or down the stairs dangerous enough to send you to the hospital.

  • Handrails: The easiest way to avoid an injury on the stairs is to hold the handrail – EVERY TIME. When you hold the handrail, going up or down the stairs, you protect yourself from what could be a serious fall. When you hold the handrail, you are also being a good safety role model for everyone around you, helping them to work and live more safely.
  • Carrying Loads: You cannot carry large loads that require two hands up or down the stairs and still hold onto a handrail.  Only a small package or bad which can be carried in one hand is safe on the stairs. Any heavy object limits your view of the stairs or which requires two hands to be carried is a hazard.
  • Lighting: You need to be able to see any hazards to avoid them. If lighting is poor, avoid the stairs or use a flashlight, and promptly report this hazard to your manager so it can be corrected.
  • Weather: Outdoor stairs can be impacted by weather hazards. Use extra caution when using outdoor stairs after wet or cold weather. Stairs that are impacted by snow or ice should be cleared promptly and treated with a deicing agent.
  • Report: If you feel a job is dangerous or you recognize a hazard, always stop to report the concern to your manager promptly so the issues can be addressed. This can include hazards such as climbing ladders, or working from a loading dock, but also include common less-recognized hazards such as using the stairs and walking paths.

Allied Universal employees need to diligently be on the lookout for any hazards in the work environment that could put us at risk of a fall. If you observe a hazard, such as a loose handrail, an uneven stair, or an unmarked trip hazard, report this to your supervisor immediately. Supervisors can work to correct the hazard and may redirect our work temporarily while the condition is being corrected.

Tips for riders

Escalator tips

  • Watch the direction of the moving steps, and be careful when stepping on and off
  • Hold children firmly with one arm or hold a child’s free hand.
  • Hold packages firmly with one hand, while keeping one hand available to hold the railing.
  • Grab onto the rail as you step onto the escalator steps.
  • Do not enter or step into the exit direction of the escalator.
  • Do not use wheelchairs, electric scooters, strollers, hand carts, luggage carts, bulky or large similar items on the escalator.
  • Keep any loose clothing or items that can get caught in escalator clear of steps and sides.
  • Face forward and keep a firm grip on the handrail.
  • Do not let children sit on the steps – assist children on and off.
  • Immediately move clear of the escalator exit area; don't stop to talk or look around as other passengers may be exiting right after you
  • In the event of an escalator emergency:  push one of the nearby “stop” buttons to stop the machine and alert on-site staff immediately

Kids on escalators

  • When riding with a child, hold onto their hand, or carry the child holding the handrail
  • Help children step on and off of the escalator.
  • Do not allow children to sit on escalator steps - clothing or fingers can get easily caught.
  • Never let children ride on or play with the handrail.
  • Don't allow children to use an escalator without an adult or supervision.
  • Don't allow children to walk or run on steps or in opposite direction.
  • Don't let children drag their feet along an escalator's sides. Feet, fingers, arms, and hands between the step and the side can get caught and cause serious injury.
  • Never take a stroller on an escalator. Use the elevator.

Ideas for building owners & managers

  • Keep an eye out for unsafe riding practices (by kids and adults) and act to avoid accidents.
  • Don't place things adjacent to the escalators that will attract children.  This can cause a potential trouble spot in a high traffic area.