The escalator brushes or ‘skirt deflector’ is designed to minimise the risk of trapping objects between the steps and the side of the escalator, known as the escalator ‘skirt’.
Many of the worst escalator accidents have been as a direct result of a foot or hand being caught between the escalator skirting and the moving steps, and in some cases have led to life-changing injuries. Incidents were frequently due to friction of footwear against the skirt resulting in the foot ‘drawing in’, the placement of the hands to the sides of the steps, and the drawing in of loose clothing such as shoelaces or flowing skirts. These hazards sometimes occurred accidentally, such as from falling on the escalator and sometimes deliberately such as running feet along the skirt.
‘Skirt deflectors’ or ‘escalator brushes’ were incorporated as a consideration into the British and European standard BS EN115-1:1995 (Safety of Escalators and Moving walks: Construction and Installation) but were not made mandatory until the amendment A2 in 2004. This requirement to fit the now commonplace ‘skirt deflectors’ or ‘escalator brushes’ reduces the likelihood of entrapment by:
Lessening the likelihood of items entering the gap between the steps and skirt by obstruction.
Deflecting loose clothing etc. away from the hazard to reduce the likelihood of entrapment.
If you would like to find out more about the various safety components of an escalator, please visit our Building Education Portal page and enquire about our online Escalator Masterclass course.