In public areas such as office buildings, malls, schools, hospitals, airports, parks, and other commercial or retail spaces, people use public products constantly, such as escalators, elevators, benches, and playground equipment. Usually, people use such products without stopping to question their safety. Public products help people move around quickly and generally improve their experience, unless the products are found to be dangerous or defective.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report the following estimated data concerning workplace and public place injuries:
- Elevators and escalators – 17,000 injuries and about 30 deaths each year
- Public playground equipment – 156,000 injuries each year
- Swimming pools, slides, and diving boards- 56,000 injuries each year
- Amusement parks- at least1,300 injuries each year
Dangers in Public Places and the Workplace
Due to the high volume of traffic often associated with public products, there are many risks and dangers posed to the consumer if the products fail.
Public products and equipment in the workplace have caused falling accidents, entrapments, electrical fires, toxic chemical exposure, paralysis, and even death in the past. Products are constantly recalled to ensure consumer safety before accidents occur, but many items such as escalators and elevators are not subject to federal accident inspections or recalls by the CPSC. Many old elevators or escalators may not meet safety requirements that were enacted through the revised ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators in 2002.
Potential dangers in public places include:
- Missing or broken fire safety equipment
- Entrapment or slip and fall accidents on escalators
- Crush injuries in elevators
- Falling down elevator shafts when the car is misaligned or if there is a pulley malfunction
- Elevator safety sensor malfunction
- Missing or broken emergency exit lights
- Lead paint on playground equipment
- Defective or unsafe playground equipment that may pose laceration hazards, fall hazards, or burn hazards if the equipment is in direct sunlight
- Inappropriate surface materials on playgrounds
- Dangerous swimming pool slide design or installment
- Unsafe amusement park rides or equipment