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A California boy was injured when his foot was pulled down in between the sidewall and the step of an escalator he was riding at a local mall. Several injuries to customers have occurred at the mall in the last few years, and authorities and mall tenants are blaming this on inadequate maintenance of the escalators.

The boy suffered a fractured foot and other injuries.

Inadequate maintenance is the usual culprit when an escalator passenger is injured.

One serious danger is step-sidewall entrapment. When a passenger has a body part become stuck between the step and the sidewall, the escalator tends to pull the entrapped body part further into machine, causing ever more severe injuries. When the escaltor reaches the top (or bottom, depending on the direction of travel), the skirt at end can also produce serious injuries to the entrapped body part as well.

Warping of the sidewalls and skewing of the steps is a major factor in producing sidewall entrapment. Also, plastic inserts can be put in between the steps and the sidewalls to prevent entrapment.

These are items of routine maintenance for which the property owner or manager is responsible.

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