As we’ve discussed previously, taking the lift is statistically safer than taking the stairs; however that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop and think about lift safety before you step into one.
Elevators have been known to cause injuries and even fatal accidents when incorrectly used or poorly maintained. Let’s take a look at some of the dangers and how to identify them.
The good news is modern elevators are equipped with safety devices which prevent the horrifying free-fall situation you see in Hollywood blockbusters. So as a passenger, the most likely fall you’ll experience is WITHIN the lift itself, especially when entering or exiting the lift.
Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to lift injuries from tripping and falling. If you have difficulty maintaining your balance and/or are prone to falling; it’s worthwhile finding out if the lift you need to use is stable and slow-moving. Simply ask someone in the building for their advice. If you can’t avoid using the lift, you may find it helpful to rely on a cane or walker for extra support.
Lifts can and do malfunction. However, in Australia because we have such high standards when it comes to lift installation, it’s usually only when lifts are not well maintained that things go wrong. Parts wear out, products need to be replaced and electrical wiring can become defective. Common problems you might notice in poorly maintained lifts are: the lift failing to stop exactly level with the floor, the doors becoming jerky and opening and closing sporadically, or the lift buttons not working correctly. Badly maintained lifts have been known to cause fatal injuries. So how do you tell if a lift is poorly maintained and potentially dangerous?
Every state in Australia has similar laws around the regular servicing and maintenance of lifts, so technically you should not have any problems with lift safety in Australia. However, there are always some people who don’t do the right thing. If you enter a building and get the sense that the building is poorly maintained, you may want to think twice before using the lift, especially if a visual inspection leads you to believe it’s not well looked after. The lift lights should all be working and the lift should be clean and ‘feel’ clean.
- Improper Use
Often times the lift is perfectly safe but passengers commit ‘user error’! Children in particular are prone to rushing out doors or conversely, exiting too slowly. They can get parts of their body, hair and clothes all caught in the lift doors causing (usually minor but sometimes more serious) injuries. Adults too can fail to enter and exit lifts appropriately and either hurt themselves or someone else.
Lift Safety Steps
- Watch your step entering and exiting the lift
- Don’t overcrowd the lift and never lean against the door!
- Don’t use a lift in the event of a fire
- If you do happen to get stuck in a lift – stay calm and don’t try to prise the doors open! Use the emergency button and follow the instructions given over the emergency phone (remember as we discussed above the lift shouldn’t free-fall). People have been killed when they’ve tried to exit stuck lifts and the lift has suddenly come ‘unstuck’.
- Stand next to the walls, away from the door and hold onto handrails if provided
At Adelaide Lifts we supply and install Swedish-built Aritco lifts, renowned for their safety and reliability. Contact us today for more information.