Elevators and Escalators Safety

Elevator and escalator safety information from Ontario’s Technical Standards and Safety Authority.

In Ontario, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) oversees the safety requirements of elevators and escalators in:

  • Offices, apartment and condominium buildings,

  • Shopping malls,

  • Hospitals,

  • Retirement and long-term care facilities, and

  • Other commercial and industrial settings.

We conduct design reviews, issue licences, perform risk assessments, conduct inspections, and license elevating device mechanics who perform installations, repairs, and maintenance.  

Learn how to stay safe on elevators and escalators by reviewing the tips below.


While elevators are extremely safe and reliable, you can injure yourself if you are distracted or if you rush towards closing doors. You should know how to properly ride elevators and what to do if an elevator stalls.  

If there is a fire or other situation that could disrupt electrical services, do not use the elevator. Take the stairs.

Boarding Elevators

  • Allow passengers exiting the elevator to clear before boarding. If the arriving car is full, wait for the next car.

  • Stand clear of elevator doors. Keep clothes and carry-ons away from the opening. 

  • Pay attention as you enter. The elevator car may not be perfectly level with the floor.

  • Hold children and pets firmly.

  • If you need the doors to stay open, push and hold the “DOOR OPEN” button, or have someone push it for you. Do not try to stop closing doors.

Riding Elevators

  • If possible, stand next to the elevator wall and hold the handrail.

  • If the doors do not open when the elevator stops, push the “DOOR OPEN” button.

Exiting Elevators

  • Exit immediately at your floor. Do not wait for others behind you.

  • Do not push the people in front of you when exiting.

  • Pay attention as you exit. The elevator car may not be perfectly level with the floor.

Staying Safe in an Elevator Emergency

  • If an elevator stops between floors, do not panic. Wait for qualified help to arrive. The best thing to do is relax, get as comfortable as you can, and wait for professional help. You may find it inconvenient, but you will be safe. 

  • Push the “DOOR OPEN” button. If the doors open completely at a floor, slowly and carefully exit the elevator. Be sure to pay attention as the elevator floor may not be level with the landing.

  • Never try to climb out of a stalled elevator. Use the “ALARM” or “HELP” button, or the telephone or intercom to call for help. In newer elevators, you will find a phone button which you can use to call someone to help. These kinds of phones typically share your exact location with the person you are talking to.

  • Some elevators have a two-way speaker system or telephone that will let you talk with building or rescue personnel. 

  • Do not be alarmed if you cannot be heard or if the phone does not work, as some phones are designed to only receive calls. 

  • Emergency lighting will come on if there has been a power failure.

  • Report any safety concerns about an elevator to the building’s owner, operator or property manager. You may also report an incident to TSSA by email at ed-incident@tssa.org or by calling 1-877-682-8772. 

Watch TSSA’s “Be Safe Not Sorry” videos for more elevator safety tips:


Escalators are a common part of everyday life. While they are extremely safe, accidents can happen if riders behave in an unsafe manner. 

Riding Escalators

  • Step on and off with care. Stand in the center of the step, within the yellow lines, keeping your feet away from the sides. Stand facing forward. 

  • Hold the handrail. Do not touch the area below the handrail. 

  • Keep loose clothing, such as long coats and scarves, clear of the steps and sides. Keep handbags, knapsacks, shopping bags and parcels away from the handrails, and never rest them on a step.

  • Never sit on the stairs or the railings. 

  • Do not run up or down escalators, try to run up the wrong way, or try to slide down handrails. 

  • Move away quickly from exit areas.

  • Do not take strollers, walkers, luggage, animals, or carts on an escalator. Use an elevator instead. 

  • If you have mobility or balance issues, avoid escalators and use an elevator.

  • Before getting on, familiarize yourself with the location of the escalator’s emergency stop buttons.

  • Be sure your shoelaces are not untied or dangling. 

  • Never get on an escalator in bare feet.

Watch TSSA’s “Be Safe, Not Sorry” escalator safety videos for more safety tips:

Riding Escalators Safely With Children

  • Pay extra attention to small children. Hold their hand and be sure they keep their fingers away from moving parts. If children are too small to hold onto the handrail, consider taking an elevator. 

  • Never allow children to play on or near escalators or leave children unattended near escalators.  

When riding an escalator with your child, teach them to:

  • Hold the handrail. (If they are too small to do so, take the elevator instead.)

  • Keep loose clothing, such as scarves or mitts, away from the edges of the escalator where they might get caught.

  • Never rest toys, backpacks or shopping bags on an escalator step.

  • Step off from the escalator as soon as they get to the end.

  • Never sit on the stairs or the railings.

  • Never run up the moving stairs of an escalator or try to run up the wrong way.

  • Make sure their shoelaces are tied and never get on an escalator in bare feet.

  • Be particularly careful when wearing flip flips or open-toed shoes which are vulnerable to becoming trapped in escalator sides and exit plates.

Staying Safe in an Escalator Accident

If an escalator rider falls or something gets caught in the machinery, hit the “STOP” button at the top or the bottom of the escalator. Wait for help. Call 911 if necessary. 

Report any accidents or concerns about the safety of an escalator to the building's owner, operator or property manager. You may also report an incident to TSSA by email at ed-incident@tssa.org or by calling 1-877-682-8772.