2021-09-16 22:49:25 UTC
Escalator falls have soared in Tube stations because passengers are too
afraid to hold handrails over fears they could catch Covid.
A London Underground chief has warned falls caused by people not holding
handrails “due to a perception they are not clean” is currently one of the
biggest safety risks facing the network.
There were 12 serious injuries on the Tube network between April and June
and 23 on buses, which Transport for London (TfL) said was “a total greater
than any quarter throughout 2020/21”.
It is believed that the number of accidents on escalators is also being
worsened by the end of lockdown, which has seen the return of large numbers
of drunken revellers travelling on nights out.
Speaking at a TfL panel on safety this week, Andy Lord, the managing
director of the London Underground, said escalator falls were “our biggest
risk from a personal injury perspective”.
Elderly passengers are among those most vulnerable if they fall while
failing to hold the handrail, which often happens when they are trying to
manoeuvre luggage onto the escalator, he said.
Mr Lord told the hearing: “The two biggest risks we have are falls on
escalators caused by people who don’t hold the handrail. There is an issue
with the perception that the handrail is not clean because of the pandemic.
“The other bigger issue is actually intoxication. We have seen a
significant spike as the various stages of lockdown have been reduced, with
particular spikes initially on Thursday and Friday evenings and then
Public hesitancy to touch the handrails on escalators persists despite
researchers from Imperial College London finding little trace of the virus
on any shared surfaces they swabbed in stations.
TfL is also installing UV light devices on handrails at an increasing
number of stations, which kills the virus on the surface.