Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation

The resource for rider safety education

MISSION: To educate the public to ride elevators, escalators and moving walks safely through informational programs.

Escalator Safety


  • Safe Moving Stairs

    There are over 35,000 escalators in the U.S. and Canada moving an estimated 90 billion passengers annually or 245 million passengers a day. Statistically, escalators are safer than stairs. The number one type of escalator accident, as with stairs, is falling.

Safety Tips & Rules

  • Before entering escalators:

    - No hand trucks or hand carts.
    - No freight.
    - No wheelchairs, strollers or baby buggies.
    - No walkers or wheeled vehicles.
    - No loose clothing - clogs, flip flops, soft-soled shoes or scarves.
    - Be careful when carrying hanging clothes.
    - No running or walking - stand still.
    - Don't ride barefoot or with loose shoelaces.
    - Parents supervise the conduct and activity of your children.
    - Use emergency button in emergency situations

  • When entering escalators:

    - Watch the direction of the moving step.
    - Step on and off with extra care. Take care if you are wearing bifocals.
    - Hold children or small packages firmly in one hand
    - Grasp the handrail as you step promptly onto the moving step.
    - Keep loose clothing clear of steps and sides.

  • When riding escalators:

    - Stand toward the middle of the step – away
    from the sides and face forward. Don't lean against the sides.
    - Don't allow children to sit on steps.
    - Do not sit umbrellas on steps.
    - Keep a firm grip on the handrail. Reposition
    your hand slowly if the handrail moves
    ahead or behind the steps. Escalators may
    stop for safety precautions.
    - Don't rest your handbag or parcels or any
    other objects on the handrail or steps or
    anywhere. Keep objects in hands at all
    - Pay attention. Don’t window-shop while

  • When exiting escalators:

    - Don't hesitate.
    - Step off promptly
    - Immediately move clear of the escalator exit area; don't stop to talk or look around. Other passengers may be behind you.

  • When riding moving walks:

    - All escalator advice such as holding hand rails, avoiding sides, stepping on and off promptly also apply to moving walks.
    - Passengers should stay to the right.
    - Walking passengers should pass on the left.

Escalator Myths & Fears

  • MYTH: The biggest myth about escalators is that you don't have to pay much attention to them.

    TRUTH: Escalators are six-ton moving machines and should be treated as such. Pay the same attention to an escalator as you would to a moving bus.

  • MYTH: The steps will flatten out and all the people will slide down.

    TRUTH: This is impossible. Each step is a full triangular structure consisting of tread and riser supported on a track and cannot flatten out.

  • MYTH: Many times people think that escalators move too fast.

    TRUTH: They move at only normal walking speed. The misconception is probably due to the visual perception created when you are standing still and everything else appears to be moving.

  • MYTH: Children often think that the steps fall into the basement and have to be restacked every morning.

    TRUTH: Escalator steps move on an endless chain system. At the bottom they rotate under and over up the underside of the chain to reappear at the top.

  • MYTH: Escalators can reach out and grab you.

    TRUTH: No part of an escalator can do this. But people must be careful of loose clothes, untied or long shoelaces, high heels, long hair, long jewelry, etc. because these can get caught in an escalator's machinery.

  • MYTH: Escalators will stop and restart themselves.

    TRUTH: Escalators only stop if they are stopped by the specially designed STOP button, or if there is an obstruction or over speed. Once stopped, escalators can only be restarted by someone with a restart key.

  • MYTH: If an escalator is standing still, it is just a set of stairs.

    TRUTH: Not at all! Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner. The risk of tripping and falling is increased

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