For Immediate Release: November 17, 2021
Contact:, (212) 393-2126


Tips to Take Elevator Safety to the Next Level

New York, NY – This National Elevator and Escalator Safety Awareness Week, the New York City Department of Buildings is reminding all New Yorkers about proper elevator and escalator safety etiquette. Decades of improved technology and strong regulations have minimized the risks associated with elevators and escalators so much that few people know how dangerous it is to use these machines the wrong way. With more than 70,000 passenger elevators and over 2,800 escalators in DOB's jurisdiction, most New Yorkers are accustomed to the gentle hum and vertical pull that accompanies their regular use throughout our vertical city. It is estimated that elevators alone help the public take as much as one billion safe trips in our city each and every year. So far in 2021, during the hundreds of millions of safe escalator and elevator trips, the Department of Buildings has responded to only 38 elevators and escalators incidents that resulted in an injury. The vast majority of these injuries were minor in nature. So far this year, the 38 injuries represents a 62% drop from the 104 elevator and escalator injuries the Department responded to five years ago in calendar year 2016.

"New Yorkers should know that elevators and escalators remain one of the safest ways to get from point A to point B in the city, provided that they are used properly," said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. "In recent years we have seen significant reductions in elevator and escalator injuries thanks in part to our strict enforcement of safety regulations, and strong mandatory inspection programs. I want to remind all New Yorkers, that if you get stuck in an elevator - please, do not try to escape on your own. Instead just ring the alarm, stay calm, and wait for help to arrive."

Elevator Safety tips:

  • Do not exit the elevator if it stops and the doors open in between floors.
  • Be patient and don’t crowd an elevator, too many people crowding into an elevator can cause it to get stuck.
  • Never lean on elevator doors.
  • Look down and make sure the elevator is level with the floor before entering or exiting.
  • To hold the door open for a fellow passenger hoping to catch a ride, press and hold the designated door open button instead of using a body part to physically hold the door.
  • Keep clothing items like ties and scarves clear of closing elevator doors.
  • Avoid jumping, it can make an elevator uneven with the floor and cause it to get stuck.

If you do get stuck in an elevator, the number one rule is ring the alarm button and wait for help. Never try to escape from a stuck elevator car before first responders arrive.

Escalators are likewise extremely safe to ride, but users can help ensure a safe ride by practicing the following steps.

Escalator Safety Tips:

  • Step on and off the escalator with purpose. Don’t drag your feet when riding an escalator.
  • Hold the handrail, and don’t touch the sides below the handrail.
  • Help young children and seniors on the escalator. Make sure to hold the hand of any young children while riding.
  • Always face forward when riding the escalator.
  • Don’t take a child’s stroller on to an escalator.
  • Make sure your shoelaces are tied before riding an escalator.

New Yorkers who are concerned about the safety of a passenger elevator or escalator in New York City are encouraged to let the Department know about it by filing a 311 complaint.