In the U.S., the average rate of escalator incidents per year equals 0.221 accidents per escalator; 0.442 accidents per escalator pairing. Campus wide, a large medical center in the southern United States has reported 19 separate escalator incidents between July 2018 to July 2019—with 9 of those incidents occurring within an on-campus
outpatient care clinic. At almost 18 times the national rate, the incidence of escalator events within the clinic is a cause for concern for staff, patients and visitors. This study sought to understand possible user behaviors that may contribute to the incidence of these events as well as propose possible design and operational strategies to reduce their occurrence. Site visits and observations helped provide insight into user behaviors on escalators, the potential risks associated with this type of vertical transportation in healthcare environments, as well as implementable mitigation strategies. A baseline feasibility analysis was conducted for each strategy proposed. While removing the escalators was recommended as the only sure way to fully mitigate the occurrence of these incidents, a myriad of escalator safety upgrades and passive design techniques were proposed—with the caveat that once implemented, a follow-up impact study must occur to gauge the success of these strategies.
This article originally appeared in Vol 11.02 of the Perkins and Will Research Journal. CLICK HERE to see the whole article.