Next Generation Specialist
Transport Planning and Engineering Consultants

Project Update: Escalator Safety Risk Mitigation


How many times have you been in a shopping centre and not been able to easily locate the lift? Have you ever been tempted to use the escalators instead even when you know it could potentially cause an injury to you or others i.e. with a full trolley or if your mobility was not the best and you were loaded up with shopping?

We recently witnessed a nasty incident where an elderly person tripped on a travelator and injured her face to a degree that required medical attention. This could have been avoided had there been clear information identifying the risks and providing an alternative access option via the lifts.

As an asset owner, you have a degree of responsibility to inform the public about the risks associated with using certain assets of which escalators and travelators are the more prominent ones and because they move, are ones which present the most risk. Informing the public of the risks associated with using these types of assets is typically done through provision of audio or visual information (signs) which limits the liability of the asset owner should an incident occur. Often this signage is located on the inside of the escalator which is only visible once you are on the escalator which is really too late as indicated below.

Existing Escalator Signage Safety Measures


PeopleTrans recently undertook a risk study for Sydney Trains at Central station focused on the fact that this station has the highest number of “slips, trips & falls” across the Sydney trains network. This was also linked to the fact that the locations of the lifts were not easily identified resulting in many train passengers with bulky items like luggage and prams often using the escalators and resulting in an injury.To identify strategies to reduce the risk, PeopleTrans developed a specific survey methodology based on the layout of each location and using the best practice safety principles, designed a signage strategy.  The signage strategy developed by PeopleTrans for Sydney trains was implemented in June 2017 (Refer typical signage example below) and the measures will be then be evaluated with a view to rolling this out across the network if determined to be effective.

New Escalator Signage Safety Measures


We believe that these specific measures can easily be adapted and applied at other locations, particularly at shopping centres with multiple levels where there are numerous escalators and lifts.

The measures are very cost effective compared to the costs associated with any liability case taken up against the asset owner and we believe they will go a long way towards helping prevent injuries for a countless number of people across the country.

If you are interested in finding out more detail about this study and PeopleTrans’ simple signage strategy please contact Alan Stewart on (02) 8226 8760.