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NJ Transit Escalators Lack Fire Protection

August 22, 2018

Most NJ Transit riders know the risks of riding public transportation, but there is a safety hazard at the stations they may not be aware of. A recent online article revealed that escalators in NJ Transit stations have been failing inspection reports due to a lack of fire protection. The NJ Department of Community Affairs hold inspections on these escalators twice a year, and though the escalators fail, they are still operating. This presents a significant danger to people riding them.

The article mentioned Secaucus Junction Station, whose 31 escalators do not have fire protection, a significant safety hazard to riders. In 2014, a fire shut down four of the escalators. The inspection reports date back three years and shows that NJ Transit was not assessed fines for the Secaucus violations, totaling over $800,000 yearly.

Fire Protection for Escalators is Critical

Today’s escalators are made of aluminum, and if rubble, garbage, and other debris builds up in the escalator’s housings, it creates a fire hazard to riders. The risk of cigarettes or other flammable items falling in between cracks is also a concern. Since escalators connect floors, they can spread fire and smoke from one level to another.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has standard escalator construction codes, requiring that escalator mechanical areas and trusses be sealed by fire-resistant materials. These codes are mandated by the state of New Jersey. Testing for fire safety should be administered by an approved laboratory before the escalators are ever used.

Are Improvements Underway?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards state that escalators with defects that affect passenger safety shall not be used. It also specifies yearly inspections, with the results posted nearby in the terminals. Yet, NJ Transit escalators that are not up to code continue to operate, and the violations continue. A recent NJ Transit spokesperson stated that they are working on resolving the issue with the Department of Community Affairs, although no specifics about timing or costs were given.

Escalator Safety Guidelines

Taking precautions while riding escalators can help prevent accidents. Individuals should never get on an escalator if there is a fire. Other safety precautions include keeping away from the sides and standing in the middle of the steps since body parts and loose clothing can get caught. Adults should hold onto handrails and assure that small children do not sit or play on escalators, and if using a baby stroller, caregivers should take the elevator.

Cherry Hill Premises Liability Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Fight for Victims Harmed in Escalator Accidents

If you or someone you know has been injured in an escalator accident, contact the Cherry Hill premises liability lawyers at DiTomaso Law. We are experts in premises liability law and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.  Contact us today by calling 856-414-0010 or complete an online form. With locations in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas.

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