MTR steps up escalator safety campaign
Originally published at the South China Morning Post on August 7, 2014.
While MTR station escalators may seem benign, accidents can and do happen when passengers fail to pay attention or follow simple safety procedures.
The MTR Corporation recorded 435 escalator accidents in the first half of this year.
In an effort to cut those numbers, the corporation yesterday launched its annual escalator safety campaign, which runs until the end of the month.
"Escalator accidents are common in a busy environment," said Adi Lau Tin-shing, the MTR's deputy operations director. "On the MTR, safety is the priority." According to Lau, about 40 per cent of accidents happened because passengers lost their balance, and about 18 per cent occurred when people carried large items.
Accidents were also caused by people standing too close to the edges of escalators or jostling one another, he said.
"When we use the escalators we need to make sure that we stand still and hold the handrail," Lau said. "If passengers do carry bulky luggage, they are advised to use our lift."
More than half of the accidents involved children or elderly people, while passengers wearing sandals while standing too close to the edges of escalators are at particular risk.
Accidents also easily occur in busy stations like Causeway Bay, Lau said.
The campaign will see safety messages displayed prominently on the handrails of escalators at busy stations.
The MTR has also launched a light-hearted video on escalator safety, which will be played across the network.
The video features a range of people appearing at a Hollywood-style awards ceremony for diligently following escalator safety rules.
The MTR will also deploy 25 "escalator safety ambassadors" to various stations to relay safety tips and give those who use the escalators correctly an "award" - in the form of a trophy-shaped memo pad.
The MTR has about 1,000 escalators to serve the 5.2 million passengers who use it every day.
Meanwhile, Lau said the MTR would do its best to minimise problems caused by the installation of a new signalling system. The corporation last week warned of delays when it begins installing the system next year.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: MTR steps up escalator safety campaign