Elevator-Related Injuries Journal Article

Steele, Gregory K. et al. “Elevator-Related Injuries to Older Adults in the United States,

1990 to 2006.” The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, vol. 68, no. 1,

2010, pp. 188–192. doi:10.1097/ta.0b013e3181b2302b.

This study investigated the types, regions, and causes of elevator-related injuries in older adults. Conducted on a national level, the study examined data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System collected in adults over 65 between 1990 and 2006. The study found that injuries were relatively common among this group and accounted for approximately one third of all injuries in this demographic. The primary cause of injury was found to be slips and falls, and the secondary cause a body part getting stuck in the door. In addition, the study found that rates of injury increased with age. Overall, the authors maintained that their study highlighted risks brought about by elevators and opportunities to improve safety.

This work is obviously intended for an educated audience in that it uses terms and statistical analysis that the layman might not be familiar with, but the reader is expected to know. In addition, the writing style is informative rather than engaging. I find this article to be credible for multiple reasons. Not only was it published in a peer-reviewed journal, but the authors referenced 27 sources demonstrating that they did their research before collecting thier data, conducted the study on a national level which meant a larger sample size and therefore better results, and pointed out sources of error, saying how and why the results could have been affected. The argument was that there is a need for continued elevator safety and older adults should exercise caution when using elevators. The fact that their apparently sound methods brought them to the conclusion that nearly a third of older adults experience elevator related injuries supports this argument. Suggestions of how one might increase elevator safety also strengthen the argument.

This article is useful to me as I look at elevator safety. While older adults only make up part of the population, they need and use elevators more than the average individual does which puts them at a greater risk for injury. I’m most interested in the cause of injury since that indicates whether the elevator itself is unsafe. About half the elevator-related injuries were brought about by falls which can be prevented by exercising caution rather than modifying elevator safety features. However, about 30% of injuries were caused by doors closing on an individual. This is due to inadequate sensors in the doors and could be prevented by improving the sensor technology. This study is somewhat dated – data was collected between 1990 and 2006 – and the numbers might have changed since then. Overall, while there are limitations in the group of people studied and the recentness of the data, this article provides information and statistics about elevator-related injuries and is useful to me as I examine elevator safety.

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