Elevator Injury Investigations - Expert Reference Guide Expert Article

In this article our elevator experts have compiled statistics and valuable information pertaining to elevator safety, the most common types of passenger incidents, and some of the standards relevant to elevators.


Modern advances in technology, along with stringent inspection and maintenance requirements have developed a strong track record for elevator safety. In the 2011 edition of their Injury Facts report, the National Safety Council reported only 21,876 injuries related to elevators, escalators, and moving walks.

Elevator Incidents

While it is generally accepted that elevators are a safe and reliable mode of transportation, preventable injuries continue to occur. The experts at Robson Forensic have been retained to investigate more than 500 injuries involving elevators, the majority of which fall into 3 general categories:

Errant Door Function - 37%

Incidents where the doors fail to open or close properly. Incidents may involve a rider being struck and knocked off-balance by the door, while others may involve riders being caught between the doors, or trapped within the elevator.

Abrupt Starts/Stops – 27%

Incidents involve a sudden and unusual movement of the elevator car that often causes riders to fall or collide with other riders and/or objects in the car. Incidents can be related to power loss or over speed conditions.

Misleveling – 25%

Incidents where the elevator fails to stop level with the finished floor. Resulting injuries commonly involve trips and falls while passing through the threshold of the car. This condition will sometimes result in entrapment, an industry specific term to describe a car that has stopped between floors.

Other – 11%

These incidents do not fit neatly into the above mentioned categories and include a range of issues; some involve the injury of maintenance workers, including electrical shocks and falls into the hoistway; others involve non-mechanical issues that injure riders, such as slips and falls on flooring, or injuries from falling ceiling or wall panels.

No matter the cause or severity of injury in your case, there is a strong chance that our experts have investigated a similar incident.

Standards & Industry Resources

In the United States, elevators and escalators are subject to state and municipal codes, which often conform to ANSI/ASME guidelines covering design, construction, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, alteration, and repair. The local codes may also incorporate other national standards related to building and life safety such as OSHA, NFPA and ADA.

  • ASME A17.1 - Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators
  • ASME A17.2 - Guide for Inspection of Elevators, Escalators, and Moving Walks
  • ASME A17.3 - Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators
  • ASME A17.4 - Guide for Emergency Evacuation of Passengers from Elevators
  • ASME A17.5 - Elevator and Escalator Electrical Equipment
  • ASME A17.6 – 2010 Standard for Suspension, Compensation & Governor Systems
  • NFPA 101 - Life Safety Code
  • NFPA 13 - Installation of Sprinklers
  • NFPA 70 - National Electrical Code
  • NFPA 72 - National Fire Alarm Code
  • OSHA 1926.406(B) - Electrical Safety
  • ADA Accessibility Guidelines – 4.10 Elevators (Dimensions, Controls, Signage)
  • Local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)

Featured Expert

Dennis W. Olson, Elevator & Escalator Expert

Dennis W. Olson, C.E.I.

Elevator & Escalator Expert
Dennis is an elevator and escalator expert with more than 30 years of industry experience. His casework includes matters related to the design and construction, modernization, maintenance and service… read more.

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