In 1994, there were approximately 7,300 injuries and nine hundred accidents in elevators. These injuries occurred due to design flaws, improper inspections, and faulty parts. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that these injuries resulted in 6,000 hospital visits. The organization has produced five sets of recommendations for elevators to prevent these accidents.
Most accidents caused by a defective elevator are preventable. A common cause of an elevator accident is misleveling, when an elevator fails to stop at the floor level and leaves a space between the car and the floor. This gap can cause a slip, trip, or fall accident. Another common cause of an elevator accident is excessive speed. This can result in passengers crashing into walls or bumping into each other. These injuries can be quite painful, and may require expensive medical care.
Elevator workers are also at risk for falls. In fact, over one-fourth of elevator worker deaths occur in falls. Fortunately, many of these fatal falls are not caused by the worker. Many fatalities are the result of being caught in the doorway, shaft, or machinery of an elevator. In addition, electrocutions involve elevator workers. It’s important to make sure that elevator operators and maintenance staff are properly trained and knowledgeable about elevator safety.
While modern elevators are equipped with advanced technology to avoid dangerous sudden stops, accidents are still common. Even though modern elevators use anti-lock systems to prevent people from falling from heights, faulty doors still pose a risk of serious injury. Many accidents involving elevators are caused by a malfunction in the door, which is supposed to open automatically with minimal effort. This can lead to serious injuries, and if left untreated, these accidents can lead to permanent or even total paralysis.
According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, elevator and escalator accidents account for almost 30 percent of fatalities and one-third of serious injuries in the U.S. Each year. While the majority of these accidents involve workers, escalators can cause serious injuries in anybody.
A maintenance worker died in an elevator accident while trying to install a new liner. He and three other coworkers were trying to lift a hydraulic piston from the bottom of the shaft. The piston was not positioned in a way to hold it in place, and the workers were unable to tie it in place.
The elevator can stop suddenly, causing passengers to be thrown against the walls of the elevator. This can cause back injuries, neck injuries, and even death. Modern elevators have software in place to avoid malfunctions and prevent fatalities. If the elevator falls from a significant height, passengers and workers can sustain serious injuries and even die.
In addition to being properly maintained, elevators should also be inspected regularly. Many states require elevator contractors, mechanics, and inspectors to be licensed. Obtaining a license usually involves completing education requirements and gaining work experience. Additionally, license renewal usually involves passing a written exam and participating in a continuing education program. If the elevator is not inspected, you could end up in an accident involving it.