Escalator-related injuries among older adults in the United States, 1991-2005

Joseph O'Neil, Gregory K. Steele, Carrie Huisingh, Gary A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


This study describes the epidemiology of escalator-related injuries among adults age 65 and older in the U.S. between 1991 and 2005, through a retrospective analysis of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. There were an estimated 39,850 escalator-related injuries and no fatalities. The overall injury rate was 7.8/100,000 population. During the study period 1991-2005, the rate of escalator-related injuries doubled. The mean age of the study population was 80.1 years (S.D. = 8.5 years) with 73.3% female. The most frequent cause of injury was a slip, trip or fall (84.9%, 95% CI: 82.7-87.2%). The most frequently injured body parts were the lower extremities (25.9%, 95% CI: 21.5-30.2%) and the head (25.0%, 95% CI: 20.5-29.5%). The leading type of injury was soft tissue injuries (54.2%, 95% CI: 49.7-58.7%) followed by lacerations (22.3%, 95% CI: 18.4-26.1%) and fractures (15.6%, 95% CI: 13.1-18.1%). The rate of head injuries and the rate of hospitalizations increased with age. Escalator-related injuries occur infrequently but may result in significant trauma. These injuries are often associated with a slip, trip or fall. Awareness of the risks and the circumstances leading to escalator injuries allows for better direction of intervention strategies on the part of injury prevention specialists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-533
Number of pages7
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008


  • Escalators
  • Older adults
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Safety Research
  • Law
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Chemical Health and Safety

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