How Common Are Escalator And Elevator Accidents


Fatal elevator or escalator accidents are very rare. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics there are about 30 fatal accidents a year in the United States caused by elevators and escalator. Slightly more than half of the fatalities are workers working on top or near elevators or escalators. The number of casualties is low compared to about 2000 fatalities per year on stairs.

A survey of all hospitals in United States showed that the amount of accidents causing injury, are about 0.221 accidents per installed escalator and 0.015 accidents per lift annually. From similar global hospital studies, it seems that globally more than half of all accidents are not reported to the authorities, even if there are legal requirements to report such accidents.

The most frequent cause of an injury to elevator passengers is an elevator door closing on a body part. 75% of escalator injuries were caused by falls, while 20% were caused by getting stuck at the bottom or on top of the escalator – usually due to footwear or clothing getting entangled.

There are more severe accidents with escalators than elevators. Most of the accidents on escalators are caused by user behavior and not following safety guidelines. We often see children playing on or near escalators and walkways without the supervision of their parents, despite clear warnings. Children trolleys and prams are also often seen on escalators, which is absolutely unsafe.

There are many beliefs about lift safety that are greatly misconceived. For example, some people fear that elevator ropes may snap, plummeting them to the ground. However, this is only known to have happened once in the time of the modern elevator, in the Empire State Building, after a small plane collided with the elevator cable in 1941. Even in this instance, the emergency safety gear (an automatically activated safety brake gripping the guide rails) was able to prevent the lift car from freefalling.


The Inspection services of Elevating Studio are designed to detect maintenance gaps or non-compliances to the international safety standards and will support you to improve your lift safety and reliability.

Elevating Studio is certified to perform safety inspections according to international norms EN81 (elevators) and EN115 (escalators). Every year we inspect and certify hundreds of elevators and escalators in South East Asia, Australia and beyond.

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