Riding the Escalator: How Dangerous is it Really?

Schminke, Louisa H.; Jeger, Victor; Evangelopoulos, Dimitrios S.; Zimmermann, Heinz; Exadaktylos, Aristomenis (2013). Riding the Escalator: How Dangerous is it Really? Western journal of emergency medicine, 14(2), pp. 141-145. University of California 10.5811/westjem.2012.12.13346

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INTRODUCTION About 10,000 escalator-related injuries per year result in emergency department treatment in the United States. Since the 1990s, a steady increase has been reported, but few statistics on escalator-related injuries have been published worldwide. We have therefore analyzed escalator accident statistics in admissions to our hospital in Switzerland since 2000. METHODS Using retrospective electronic patient chart analysis, we included in our study patients >16 years treated over an 11-year period. We categorized patients in terms of gender, age and associated risk factors, and classified accidents according to day, time, location and cause. Resulting trauma was categorized according to type and location. We divided post-admission treatment into surgical and conservative, and into treatment as an outpatient, in a short-stay unit, or as a hospital admission. Women and men were compared using Fisher's exact test. RESULTS We identified 173 patients with 285 discrete injuries. Of these, 87 patients (50%) were women. Fifty-three (61%) of the women and 38 (44%) of the men were >60 years old (P = 0.033). Fifty percent of the men (43/86) of the men, but only 7% (6/87) of the women showed signs of alcohol intoxication (P < 0.0001). Accidents in women occurred predominantly on Tuesdays (19/87; 22%) between 12pm and 6pm (35/87; 40%), and in men on Saturdays (16/86; 19%) between 6pm and 12am (29/86; 34%; P = 0.0097). Sixty-two percent (44/71) of the accidents were in public transport facilities and 30% (21/71) in shopping centers. The majority of injuries in women were to the lower extremities (49/87; 56%), while most accidents in men were to the head and neck (51/86; 59%; P = 0.0052). About half (90; 52%) of the patients were treated conservatively. Almost half of all patients (76, 44%) required hospital admission. Of those, 45% left the hospital within 24 hours of admission (short stay unit) and 55% stayed longer than 24 hours. CONCLUSION Escalator accidents can result in severe trauma. Significant gender differences in escalator accidents have been observed. Alcohol intoxication and age are significant risk factors in escalator-related accidents and might be possible targets for preventive measures.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > University Emergency Center

UniBE Contributor:

Zimmermann, Heinz and Exadaktylos, Aristomenis


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




University of California




Romana Saredi

Date Deposited:

16 Jun 2014 14:24

Last Modified:

01 Feb 2017 10:38

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






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