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What Are the Most Common Causes of Elevator Accidents?

Elevators are used to transport individuals up and down buildings with efficiency, and the last thing that passengers are expecting during a ride is an elevator accident that may lead to injury.

Thousands of elevator accidents occur in the United States each year, leading to injury and, in some cases, death.

Some of the most common causes behind elevator accidents include:

Mechanical Failure

One of the most common reasons for an elevator accident is a mechanical failure. Even with regular maintenance, cables, pulleys, and braking systems can malfunction. Frayed cables and faulty brakes may cause the elevator to plummet or become stuck in between floors.

Door mechanisms may fail, leaving passengers trapped inside, or leading to injuries while you are boarding or exiting the elevator. Elevators should be regularly inspected, and proper maintenance should be performed on a regular basis to keep passengers safe.

Human Error

Elevator accidents can be caused by human error. This may include exceeding the weight capacity, improper use of the controls, and not following safety protocols.

Keeping the elevator doors open, or trying to exit the elevator when it is stalled, can also lead to injury.

Even maintenance technicians can overlook maintenance tasks or take risks while servicing them.

Lack of Maintenance

Regular maintenance helps maintain elevator safety. If not completed in the required timeframe, it can contribute to elevator accidents and injuries.

Wear and tear can lead to mechanical failure of different components of the elevator. Outdated or inadequate maintenance practices can lead to overlooking upgrades or failing to resolve issues as they occur.

Lax maintenance can lead to minor inconveniences such as frequent breakdowns, or more severe consequences, such as elevators plummeting down shafts.

Overloading

Overloading is a dangerous practice that can increase the risk of accidents. Elevators are designed to carry certain weight capacities. Exceeding the limit can cause strain that leads to mechanical failure.

Signs of overloading can include sluggish movement, sudden stops, or breakdowns. Excessive weight can also snap cables, lead to brake failure, or cause free-falls.

Overloading is most common during peak hours in crowded settings, when passengers are more likely to ignore signage or other warnings of the weight limit.

Poor Installation

Elevator safety begins with the proper installation, as poor installation can increase the risk for accidents. Installation errors can compromise the structural integrity of the elevator shaft or cause faulty wiring and bad connections.

These errors may not be detected immediately, and can lead to malfunctions or breakdowns. If installed incorrectly, the elevator may not meet all requirements for safety regulations, putting passengers at risk.

Elevators should be installed by certified professionals to help mitigate the risk of accidents and help with the long-term safety of the elevator system.

Steps to Take After an Elevator Accident

If you are injured in an elevator accident, take the following steps to protect your rights:

  • Seek medical attention
  • Report the accident
  • Document details of the accident
  • Preserve evidence
  • Consult an injury lawyer

Following these steps can help strengthen your injury claim, helping you recover fair compensation after an elevator accident.

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