SINGAPORE: More than 92 per cent of accidents on escalators happen because users do not practise safe behaviour, according to Building and Construction Authority (BCA) data.
The most common unsafe habits include not holding the handrails, running up escalators and the use of strollers on escalators, BCA told reporters on Thursday (Dec 20).
Other unsafe habits include the use of mobile devices, and not standing within the yellow box of the escalator step.
On average, there have been 29 reported incidents to BCA per month from January to November this year, slightly lower than the monthly average of 34 incidents for the whole of last year.
In 2016, the average number of reported incidents per month was 31, for November and December. BCA only began tracking such incidents in late 2016.
Under the authority's regulations, escalator operators must report each occurrence involving injury or failure of safety critical equipment.
"We would like to encourage the public to observe some safe behaviours when using escalators,” said Ms Ngiam Li Lian, director of BCA's policy and rules department. “We do conduct regular checks, random checks on escalators in Singapore, so if we do find that some escalators are not being maintained to the standard that we require, we will issue notices."
Meanwhile, in the past two years, there have been a total of four accidents involving strollers.
BCA said using a stroller on an escalator can be dangerous as its wheels can get wedged between steps when the escalator transitions to a flat platform.
In some cases, this can cause the steps to dislodge and people can get hurt.
In an incident last year at The Centrepoint along Orchard Road, two shoppers using a stroller experienced an escalator breakdown and one of them was injured.
One of the shoppers shared a picture of the incident showing the steps buckling due to the malfunction.
To educate the public, BCA has begun distributing "no strollers on escalators” posters to operators.
Under its regulations, all escalator operators must display updated safety signs by the first half of next year.
The authority will also amend the maintenance outcome of escalators in its regulatory code. By early 2019, operators must ensure that the controller and electrical systems of escalators must be well maintained to prevent electrocution.
Other maintenance outcomes which are already in place include ensuring that the handrail system is properly maintained, as well as keeping the escalator systems oil and dust free.
BCA’s escalator safety guidelines follow the European standard of escalator safety.