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How the Norwegian Requirements for Escalator Fall Preventation Have Shaped Innovation

How the Norwegian Requirements for Escalator Fall Preventation Have Shaped Innovation

During the early 2000’s agencies and organisations in Norway were becoming increasingly aware of the number of accidents on escalators. The number of falls over the balustrades resulting in serious injury or death was causing alarm. The statics gathered were showing that 1/3 of all accidents on escalators were falls, and of those falls 2/3 were fatalities. These statistics were supported by evidence from Australia, Finland and Hong Kong as well as other retail and VT consulting organisation. 

In response to this evidence the Norwegian government, passed the TEK 10 statute in 2010. Clause 15-13 of TEK 10 states that “Where escalators and moving walks are installed in an open area in a way that the fall height from the balustrade exceeds 3m, a fall protection must be installed.” Early solutions involved fixing a net to the truss, which ran parallel to the escalator. Apart from being architecturally unappealing, the net did not prevent the fall in the first instance, and did not address the issue of rescuing the faller once they were caught in the net.

All escalators manufacturers operating in Norway designed their own solutions in response to TEK10. ThyssenKrupp have a 75% market share in Norway, and as the market leaders their solution is of interest to D2E. ThyssenKrupp have been developing a glass fall-prevention barrier since 2006. The barrier, known locally as a “Safety Curtain”, is a single thickness of 10mm, toughened glass that fixes to the escalator truss and rises 300mm above the handrail. Thyssen are now installing the fourth generation of this product. 

In terms of performance, there has not been a single fatality from an escalator fall in Norway since the introduction of this initiative. This is not a retrospective requirement, but is being locally fitted because of the proven results. D2E Associates Emma Scott-Miller and Paul Burns went to visit Thyssen in Norway at the end of February 2017 to see the product technical details and several installations at sites in Oslo.