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Elevators May Not Be As Safe As You Think


We don’t often think of going into an elevator as being a dangerous activity. And for the most part it isn’t; elevators don’t injure very many people. But they do cause injury more than we think, and the image of elevators being safe—at least, safer than the stairs—may not be entirely accurate.

Accuracy is Required

We often forget how accurate and precise an elevator must be, to be truly safe. The cabin that you ride in, as it goes up and down the elevator shaft, must align exactly and perfectly with the floors that it opens up to. The ground of the cabin must perfectly align with the ground where people are getting off or onto the elevator.

Even a slight misalignment can create a dangerous lip between the cabin floor and the ground, where people can easily fall. The danger can be compounded in busy escalators, where people rushing to get on or off may be too distracted to even notice the elevator is not exactly aligned, or where people may just be pushed forward by the crowd going into or out of the elevator.

Changes in Speed

Stopping isn’t the only activity that can be dangerous—as the elevator goes up or down, it does so at an even, consistent speed. Our bodies don’t even notice the elevator moving, as we are good at adjusting our weight to account for the elevator’s anticipated movements.

But it does happen that the elevator’s movement is not consistent—there can be a slight speed up, or a sudden, jarring or unexpected slowdown or even a stop. When the elevator’s movement is not consistent, it can cause serious injury, as our bodies aren’t ready to absorb the shock of a sudden stop, or even a sudden, faster descent or ascent.

Falling Down the Shaft

Then there is, of course, the nightmare scenario which thankfully is rare: you walk into the elevator, only to find the elevator cabin isn’t there. Instead, you fall down the elevator shaft.

This can easily happen if elevator doors open when there is no cabin there; many of us, trained to just assume the cabin is there when the doors open, will walk through open elevator doors, and end up falling down the elevator shaft. This can cause catastrophic injury, not just from the fall, but from the body’s interaction with the mechanisms inside the elevator shaft.

Beware Closing Doors

Most elevator doors are padded, and have technology that will bounce them open when they feel resistance. But smaller limbs, such as those that belong to children, may not trigger this mechanism. This can lead to doors closing on, and injuring, hands, fingers, legs or feet.

Elevators are supposed to be routinely inspected for safety. But many are not, or else, the inspection fails to reveal malfunctions, or parts of the elevator that are in need of replacement. We can help if you have been injured by or on an elevator.  Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian today.


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