EMSD releases technical investigation report on escalator incident at Hong Kong Design Institute

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) today (June 9) released a technical investigation report on an incident at the Hong Kong Design Institute in Tseung Kwan O on February 24 which involved dislodgement of escalator steps.

The report reveals that an escalator step in Escalator No. E4 became jammed in the upper landing return station when the incident occurred. As a result, subsequent steps were unable to move out smoothly from the upper comb plate, leaving a gap between steps outside the upper comb plate. The chain tension switch was immediately activated to stop the escalator. No person was injured in the incident.   

Investigation by the EMSD revealed that the jamming of the step in Escalator No. E4 was caused by the lock nut and tab washer not having been properly secured in their originally designed positions, which led to dislodgement of escalator steps.

After the incident, the EMSD has inspected all the steps of the four escalators at the Hong Kong Design Institute. No loosened lock nuts and tab washers were found. According to the EMSD's records, no similar incidents have been reported in escalators of the same step assembly.

To prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, the EMSD has requested the registered escalator contractor concerned, ThyssenKrupp Elevator (HK) Limited (TKE), to strengthen the safety check procedure for escalators. In addition, the EMSD has stepped up inspections of other escalators being maintained by TKE. The EMSD has also reminded all registered escalator contractors to thoroughly inspect, maintain and examine the condition of step assemblies during routine maintenance and periodic examination to ensure safe operation of all escalators.

"The EMSD will seek legal advice to ascertain whether there are persons or parties liable for the incident under the Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance, and will take appropriate action," said an EMSD spokesman.

TKE has replaced all the damaged steps in Escalator No. E4 and completed full load tests for the brakes of all four escalators. The operation of the escalators at the Hong Kong Design Institute can be resumed after thorough examination and certification by a registered escalator engineer.

The full report is available at the EMSD's website, www.emsd.gov.hk/emsd/e_download/pps/le/Report_HKDesign_Institute.pdf.

Ends/Thursday, June 9, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:29