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What dangers might you face from elevators?

If you work in a multi-story office complex or live in a high-rise apartment building, you probably use elevators every day. Hotels, malls and tourist attractions are additional places where elevators are a convenient way to get from floor to floor. You and other Hartford residents might take elevators for granted, but some may threaten your safety or life.

Although the majority of elevators are safe, elevator mishaps are more common than you might think. According to, about six people in the United States are killed in elevator accidents every year, at least one of them a child. Thousands more are hurt, including around 2,000 children.

The most common ways you could be injured in or around elevators include the following:

  • Fall-related injuries from dropping into an open elevator shaft or being on board a lift that falls
  • Having an arm, leg or other body part trapped by a closing elevator door
  • Being pinned or crushed when trying to escape a moving elevator that has opened its doors early

There are some measures you can take to reduce your chances of being injured by an elevator. You should never put an arm or foot between the doors to stop them from closing – the doors may not have a safety mechanism, or it could be malfunctioning. If the lift has stopped between floors and the doors are opened, do not attempt to climb out, as it could begin moving again unexpectedly. Instead, press the emergency button for help or use the elevator phone or a cellphone. Before stepping into an elevator, look to be sure a car has arrived when the door open, and that an open shaft is not awaiting you. You will also need to teach children about the importance of elevator safety, and never allow younger children to ride them alone.

Property owners are responsible for regularly maintaining and repairing the elevators in their buildings. This may dramatically reduce the risk of a personal injury, but you should never assume an elevator is completely safe.

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