They kill scores of people annually around the world. They have no motive or ideology and can’t be reasoned with, and yet we rely on them every day because stairs are a real pain.

I’m talking of course about escalators and elevators which caused nearly 300 deaths in the USA in the 90s and injured over 700 Koreans in the past five years leaving 50 for dead. Still with all this carnage the human race continues to embrace these death traps simply because they can get us to other floors quickly.

Not any more, says South Korea’s Ministry of Security and Public Administration (MOSPA), which has created the Elevator and Escalator Safety Division.

Division Chief Gang Byeong-gyu has come out strong against these menaces saying, “I want to establish a comprehensive safety management system as soon as possible,” after which I imagine him slamming his fist down on a desk. Like any good agency they intend to crack-down on the escalators and elevators with the highest accident rates first and work their way down.

According to a related study, the number one cause of accidents was found to be “passenger negligence.” This would suggest we can expect even more warnings around escalators and elevators in the near future. If Korean escalators are anything like Japanese ones, this would mean signs every five centimeters and a continuously looping audio warning in five different languages.

Although action is expected to be hard and swift, Chief Gang Byeong-gyu also wants to remind those in the conveyor transport business that they are not the enemy saying, “consideration must be given to the promotion of these industries at the same time.”

Public enemy number one when it comes to these machines are escalators which were responsible for 76.9 percent of the accidents in Korea in the past half decade. Such hazards include falling down the jagged and sharp steps, getting clothing caught in the landing platforms, and even one case in London where the moving staircase exploded killing 31. The blast was due to small debris such as paper getting trapped inside and catching fire.

Hopefully other countries will follow the initiative set in South Korea and take serious measures to curb accidents from these devices. Of course we could always use the stairs, but according to Popular Science, 12,000 people die from stair-related accidents annually in the USA alone.

It would seem the better way to get between floors would be using one of the Batman style grappling hook guns. I tried to Google “grappling hook deaths” or “grappling hook fatalities” but could only get page after page of video game articles. This combined with the fact that I never met anyone who even knew anyone involved in a grappling hook accident leads me to believe it’s the safest way to go.

Source:  Yahoo! Japan News, eLCOSH, Popular Science (English)
Images: RocketNews24