Opinion / Blog

Escalator safety must be a matter of life and death

By leixiangping (blog.chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-08-04 16:34

Individual life is too fragile, especially when maintenance and supervision is absent. The irony is that while individual life is one-off, history always repeats itself in costly fashion. In recent years, a number of escalator accidents have occurred but security hasn’t noticeably improved. Since 2005, an average 40 escalator accidents have taken place annually, 28 lives were lost on escalators in 2012 alone and four people were killed in accidents during three consecutive days of May 2013. Even the day after the Jinzhou accident, a one-year-old baby was swallowed by an escalator and had his right arm hurt in Wuzhou City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

These accidents serve as a wakeup call that escalator security should be undertaken rigidly and people’s safety must come first. Statistics show that in China 80 percent of escalator accidents are as the result of poor maintenance. To maintain escalator security, maintenance agencies and escalator users (companies that buy and use escalators) should cooperate. Users should report every problem to agencies and train employees properly, and agencies should check escalators periodically with rigid standards, making sure all escalators are safe and stable.

Another thing needing to be done quickly is to hold people accountable. For a long time, escalator tragedies have been defined only as “accidents” and the conventional solution is to reach a civil compensation agreement with victims or their families. The solution circumvents one fundamental aspect - escalator accidents are threatening public safety because of dereliction of duty, either by maintenance agencies or users, which should instead be defined as a felony - so any irresponsible body should be punished by law.

Xiang has gone but what can be done to prevent similar tragedies is to learn a painful lesson and step up escalator security.

The original blog is at: http://blog.chinadaily.com.cn/blog-1385215-30900.html


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