Whats the pickup or step on speed of an escalator, its a question I have recently asked, and as yet, I am not getting a reasonable answer, my father recently went “A over T” on an escalator in Birmingham, the staff recorded he must have passed out, but as he has no history of this, I thought I would start to look into why he fell.
First thing I did was to take him onto another escalator to see how he managed, is clears, at 87 he finds them difficult, with his walking stick in hand he has to grab onto the black rail and manage the step onto the moving platform, all in one movement. Just as a passing comment, have you noticed the way the black rail moved quicker than the tread !.
I watched as he tried this manoeuvre, and for a second it looked like he was going to do the same thing, but managed to stay upright, I was right behind him so no harm could be done, but it showed me that the old have a problem with these stairs.
I thought, ok how would he manage with a bag, his stick and an escalator, simple answer he did not, the step was a step to far and I had to hold onto him. the black band was to much for him, it pulled as he stuttered to step onto the tread, and he was almost over.
So my initial thoughts are, did he really pass out, well he might have done, but I think it was not the result of a faint attack, it was more like the impact of his head on the metal tread.
My next step is to look into the laws that covern the use and design of moving platforms or walkways and stairs. BS EN 115: 1995 is the main doc, and a vey useful HSE doc called “Guidelines for the safe operation of escalators and moving walks” runs through the main points but as yet I can find no information on the access or mounting point, and the speed. BS5656-2 might have some points again I have it on my list to review.
Next I thought I would phone the HSE to get a comment, no joy here, all requests for information need this need to be put in writing, so an email has been sent, again watch for the update to this post.
So whats next, a manufacturer, I did a search and as predicted i got loads, I chose one I recognised instantly and rang their tech help line, to asked the simple question what work can I read on the mounting speed of escalators, no joy, answer phone !. so another message left.
Thats it, a little research has thrown up a lot of questions and as I thought, a lot of reading material. Shall I take my father on another trip, depends on him, but I think its highly possible, he is “pissed off “people telling him he passed out, he has a point to make. I plan to do an update to this in the very near future, perhaps as a technical paper.
One thing I failed to do was conduct my test in a busy time, we did it early one morning, it was quiet, and no pressure from other passengers, another factor I want to add into the report.
Todays photo is of a timber tread escalator in New York USA, I think it was Macey’s, slow and easy to use, plus it looks and feels right.