DTI cautions rubber clog wearers: Beware of escalator entrapments

Sep. 22, 2008

In response to the incidences of consumers, particularly kids, getting their toes caught in escalators because of wearing rubber clogs, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection (DTI-BTRCP) held a consultative meeting with the officials of Crocs Philippines.

Trade undersecretary for consumer welfare and trade regulation Zenaida C. Maglaya said that although it is yet to be determined whether these rubber clogs were the cause of unintentional risks to wearers, it is on the side of caution that DTI called the attention of the distributor of Crocs to relay complaints forwarded to the agency about injuries sustained, especially by children.

Crocs is a popular brand of footwear made of Closed Cell Resin (PCCR), a versatile material developed for maximum cushioning. The comfort, bold colors and the unique design make it popular especially to kids.

During the said meeting, the officials of All Conditions Gear Philippines Incorporated, local distributor of Crocs, committed to provide corresponding advisory and tips reminding consumers to be extra careful in using Crocs shoes in accident prone places, particularly when on an escalator.

Moreover, they also volunteered to post safety hangtags and labels in their stores to guide and educate the consuming public.

Recently, safety groups in the United States and Japan have issued warnings about soft-sided flexible clogs that pose safety hazards to escalator riders. Typically, the shoe becomes entrapped when the rider is stepping on or off the escalator or stands too close to the side walls.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that 77 escalator entrapment incidents have been reported since January 2006, half of which resulted in injury; and the Trade Ministry of Japan received 65 complaints on Crocs being stuck in escalators between June and November last year. Most of these cases involved young children.

With this, DTI offers precautionary tips to assist parents in educating their children about escalator safety:

Before climbing aboard, find out where emergency shutoff buttons are in case there is a need to stop the escalator. The buttons are usually at the top and bottom of each escalator and can be used to stop it in case of an emergency.

To avoid the sides of steps where entrapment usually occur, stand in the middle of the step. Always face forward and hold on to handrail.

Step over the comb plate. Always pick up your feet and step carefully on or off the escalator. Never drag or slide your feet off the edge.

Stay clear of moving parts. Keep your hands, feet and clothing clear of the side panels of the escalator. Remember: loose shoe laces, rubber boots and baggy clothes can get caught in the moving parts of the escalator. Make sure you have no dangling clothing or loose shoelaces that could get caught.

Always hold children’s hands on escalators and do not permit children to sit or play on the steps.

Do not bring children onto escalators in strollers, walkers or carts.

Stand upright. Never lean on the side of the escalator, sit on the stairs or ride on handrails.

Exit promptly from the escalator. Never stop, stand or play at the landing; this can cause a dangerous pileup.

DTI 11 Regional Caretaker Marizon Loreto encourages consumers to immediately report to them any incidents which might be caused by these rubber clogs.

So far, we haven’t received any complaints related to rubber clogs. However, we would like to warn everyone to consider extra precautionary measures when wearing rubber clogs while on an escalator or any accident-prone areas, she said.

For complaints or inquiries, anyone may contact the Consumer Welfare and Trade Regulation Division (CWTRD) of DTI 11 at (082) 224-0511 local 421 or you may visit them at 4/F Mintrade Bldg., corner Monteverde Avenue and Sales Street, Davao City. For those who are in the provinces, you may also reach the DTI-Field Offices in your respective areas.

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