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July 27, 2012

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20% of city escalators fail to have safety guard

ABOUT 20 percent of the city's "scissors-style" escalators - with one escalator going up and another down right next to each other - still fail to have a fixed guard or baffle where they intersect as a safety measure, the local quality watchdog said yesterday.

Escalator operators will be ordered to suspend use of these escalators if they have not installed baffles where two escalators intersect by the end of July, said Shen Weimin, deputy director of the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau.

A nine-year-old boy died in January after his head became trapped between two escalators in a Beijing shopping mall.

A new safety standard implemented last July required escalator operators to install a fixed baffle to keep riders from having their heads or extremities injured or face punishment starting in August after a trial run of a year for the regulation.

It said a fixed baffle - at least 0.3 meters high and with no sharp parts - should be installed at intersections if the distance between two escalators is less than 0.4 meters. A "mind your head'' or caution sign suspended from chains does not by itself meet the standard.

The bureau conducted a citywide check and found 4,396 "scissors-style escalators." A total of 3,567 among them had baffles installed by July 15, and the rest had been ordered to fix the problem, the bureau said.

Escalators at Metro stations were not included in the list as the city's Metro operator, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, is checking its own escalators for compliance, the bureau said.

The child killed in Beijing had been playing on the escalator. He had craned his neck to look down. The boy's head became wedged between the escalators and he was killed immediately.


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