The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries said Monday its investigation of an escalator malfunction that injured seven people at Bellevue Square Mall Macy's last December uncovered 32 code violations, 15 of which were directly related to the accident.
L&I said in a press release, “a loose skirt panel next to the steps snagged on the moving stairway, jamming it and breaking the escalator’s chains.”
Three of the escalator’s safety-stop systems failed, said L&I, and the escalator shut down only after a passer-by pushed the manual stop button.
L&I said the escalator is maintained by Macy’s, which has a maintenance contract with the Schindler Elevator Corp.
The code violations included a failure to maintain the escalator to code and failure to conduct a required annual safety test in April 2012, said L&I. It also said Schindler did not do regular maintenance and safety checks that would have prevented the accident.
The escalator is still out of service until all the code violations are fixed.
“This is a public safety issue,” said Jose Rodriguez, Assistant Director for Field Services and Public Safety. “L&I will hold this company accountable for its maintenance responsibilities.”
L&I said that shortly after the accident, it ordered Macy’s and Schindler to conduct internal safety inspections of the mall’s three other escalators, which revealed other safety problems.
Rodriguez said that even before the accident, L&I had been working with elevator industry and building owners to keep better records and tighter maintenance schedules, and to create penalties for safety violations. Rodriguez said L&I has a staff of 22 to annually inspect 16,600 elevators and escalators statewide.