Standing still effective way to prevent escalator accidents
I refer to the report ("Stand still, don't walk! But is anyone really listening?" September 1) and your editorial ("Escalator norm serves city well", September 2) and would like to share the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department's views on the safe use of escalators.
Escalators are continuously moving machines and are not designed to be walked on. Passengers should not compromise safety for the sake of convenience and efficiency. Walking passengers not only face higher risks but also jeopardise other users. It is especially dangerous when an escalator stops suddenly in an emergency.
Most escalator accidents in Hong Kong are due to inappropriate passenger behaviour. To enhance public awareness of safe and proper use of escalators, our department has broadcast a public announcement entitled "Stand still and grip the handrail when using escalators" on TV and radio since 2007. We have also published leaflets with escalator safety tips such as keeping feet away from the edge of steps, holding children's hands, and not using escalators when pushing a baby pram or transporting bulky luggage.
The announcements and tips have been uploaded to the department's website for public access. In addition, we have held publicity campaigns, briefings, seminars and school talks to engage the public in preventing escalator accidents.
The MTR Corporation works with our department to promote the "Stand still and don't walk" escalator safety message and has achieved encouraging results. The number of MTR escalator accidents including those due to loss of balance and misjudged footing has declined from 0.56 accidents per million passengers in 2008 to 0.39 in 2014, a drop of 30 per cent.
Prevention is always better than cure. Standing still when using escalators is an effective preventive measure against accidents. We will continue to work to promote this message.
Vincent Chow, for director of electrical and mechanical services