With school holidays now underway, WorkCover NSW has issued a warning about the need for safety around escalators in shopping centres.
The holidays see many families head out to retail centres where there are many safety risks to take into account.
NSW has more than a thousand escalators, and it was an accident at the end of last year that prompted WorkCover’s safety plea.
In that incident, at a shopping centre in western Sydney, a two year old lost four fingers after they were caught in an escalator.
General manager of WorkCover’s Health and Safety Division John Watson stated that the shopping centre operator could not have prevented the accident, as they had complied with all regulations.
That included appropriate signage which stated that young children needed to be under the supervision of an adult when near the escalator, and making sure it underwent regular maintenance and testing.
“This was an unfortunate accident and we are urging all shoppers, particularly the parents and carers of young children, to be extra vigilant these holidays when using escalators so that no [one] else is injured in these circumstances,” said Mr Watson in an April 15 statement.
WorkCover NSW lists a number of recommendations for shoppers to take so as to ensure they aren’t injured when using escalators.
Shoppers are encouraged to step on and off with care, to grasp the handrail for balance and stability, to stand in the centre, to keep loose clothing clear of the sides and steps, and to move clear of the escalator exit area as soon as they are off to allow room for other shoppers.
Parents are urged not to allow children to sit on the steps and to hold young children firmly with one hand.
That plea was also extended to businesses and shopping centre operators that have escalators on their premises.
“Under NSW work health and safety laws, businesses have a duty to ensure that workers and other persons at a workplace are not exposed to health and safety risks, this includes shopping centres and users of escalators,” said Mr Watson.
“Shopping centre operators must ensure that escalators, so far as is reasonably practicable, are installed correctly, not interfered with and have control measures in place so that there are no risks to the health and safety of shoppers and shopping centre workers.”
Anyone that suffers an injury due to a slip, fall or other incident on an escalator may be entitled to make a claim for public liability compensation.