The worst escalator injuries occur when a foot is caught between the side of the escalator and the moving step (side step entrapment) or when a foot is dragged in between two steps. These can lead to brutal injuries called "degloving" injuries.

Most modern escalators have black bristles (like on a brush) on their sides. These brushes are designed both to discourage people from standing right on the edge and to make it less likely that clothing and feet will get dragged into the space between the sides and the steps. Some rubber shoes or sandals are especially likely to drag a foot in between two steps if the foot and shoe are placed in contact with the vertical part of the escalator step.

Keeping pedestrians safely away from the gap between the escalator or moving track and the sidewall prevents injuries and ensures safety standard compliance with state and federal regulations.

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