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Escalator checks after Shanghai accident

By ZHENG ZHENG in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-11 09:21

An escalator malfunction that left a woman severely injured last week in Shanghai has sparked public concerns and prompted a citywide safety inspection of all moving walkways and escalators.

The accident occurred at 4:34 pm on April 4 at a supermarket in Shanghai's Fengxian district. According to witnesses and security footage, a woman in her 30s was stepping onto an escalator inside the store when one of the steps suddenly failed, causing her legs to plummet into the opening. The escalator continued moving upward, trapping her lower body until a bystander hit the emergency stop button.

According to an announcement from the accident investigation board on Monday, emergency responders arrived at the scene and dismantled parts of the machinery in time to extract the trapped woman. She was rushed to hospital and is in stable condition with non-lifethreatening injuries.

An investigation into the accident is ongoing.

The supermarket involved has covered all medical bills to date, and an amputation remains a possibility depending on her recovery, her husband, surnamed Lu, said on Sunday on the Douyin social media platform.

The incident has sent shock waves across the city, evoking concerns over elevator safety failures. The escalator involved had undergone inspections and maintenance on March 25, said Wang Helong, who is in charge of the supermarket.

Su Dongjun, deputy director of the district's market supervision and administration bureau, told Kankan News: "According to the preliminary judgment, the immediate cause of the accident is that the displacement of an escalator fixing ring caused the step to come loose, and the protection system failed when the escalator didn't stop automatically."

After the accident, the Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation announced a monthlong investigation and rectification of all escalators and moving walkways in use.

Market oversight departments in all districts are also urging maintenance units to check for potential safety concerns, and to immediately cease using any equipment that poses a risk.

The city will examine 25,017 escalators and 1,517 moving walkways, testing steps on every single unit while scrutinizing maintenance records.

The inspection has identified 185 potential safety defects after examining 5,078 facilities so far, ranging from equipment problems to inadequate safety management systems.

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