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Dubai buildings told to improve escalator safety

Move comes after Gulf News reported about a 5-year-old boy whose big toe got severed after getting trapped in a hotel’s escalator

Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Municipality has ordered all shopping centres and other buildings to make escalators in their premises safer to prevent accidents involving children.

The circular listed new safety measures to protect children from accidents on escalators.

Redha Salman, director of Public Health and Safety Department at the municipality said building managements have to implement the new regulations in two weeks' time, failing which they will be slapped with fines starting from Dh1000.

"It (fine) could be higher if other safety aspects are not found to be compliant," he told Gulf News

Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality issued the circular requiring all buildings and shopping centres to provide adequate safety requirements to ensure public safety and not to jeopardise the lives of children, the civic body said in a press release on Thursday.

The move follows a Gulf News report about a five-year-old boy losing his big toe after his rubber footwear got stuck in a hotel’s escalator on February 14. The British boy was in Dubai with his parents and sister for a holiday to mark his fifth birthday.

The circular, issued according to Local Order No. 11 of 2003 and its executive regulation, obliges all those who are in charge of shopping centres, markets, hotels and other buildings to provide all safety requirements that guarantee the protection of people from risks.

Khalid Mohammad Sharif Al Awadi, assistant director general for Environment, Health and Safety Sector, said the municipality is keen to ensure the safety of the community and aims to reduce risks due to lack of safety requirements on escalators.

He said the circular stressed on the protection of children from the risks of accidents that may be caused by the lack of adequate safety requirements on escalators. Buildings have been ordered to secure the escalators by installing a cover to protect the upper conveyor belt and provide the required protection at the starting area of the conveyor belt. This is aimed at reducing the instances of children clinging on to the escalators or climbing them or their clothes getting stuck, exposing them to accidents and risks.

The circular also pointed out that all elevators, escalators, and moving passageways must have a certificate of examination and compliance with the safety requirements of a company accredited by the Emirates International Accreditation Centre.

Al Awadi appealed to all those responsible for the buildings, shopping centres and markets to report any violations of safety guidelines and to adhere to the circular and not to violate the rules, regulations and local orders to ensure the safety of the community.