Security Vs Safety – The Facts about Commercial Gates

July 23, 2015 2:46 pm

Gates are an essential security measure for commercial premises. Without a security gate, your site is vulnerable and anyone can enter or leave without your permission. Powered gates are particularly useful for controlling traffic to and from a commercial site, but because of the way they operate, it is important that you ensure employee safety at all times.

security gates

Commercial Gates and the Law

Commercial gates are classed as “machinery”, so by law they must comply with the European Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC), in particular the Directive’s health and safety requirements. Manufacturers, suppliers and installers must carry out risk assessments to identify potential hazards. If hazards are identified, action must be taken to mitigate the risk and ensure the product is fully compliant with the Directive’s Essential Health and Safety Requirements.

Is Your Commercial Gate Fully Compliant?

Despite the EU health and safety Directives in place, not all automated commercial gates manufactured and installed in the UK are fully compliant. There have been a number of incidents over the years where people have been hurt, including two tragic cases in 2010 involving the death of a child. In one of the cases, a five year old was crushed between the gate-post and closing edge of an automated gate; both companies involved in the maintenance and repair of the gate were subsequently convicted of serious health and safety failings and heavily fined as a result.

Typical Hazards Associated with Automated Gates

There are many hazards associated with automated gates. Because an automatic gate is controlled by an internal mechanism, a person could become crushed between the closing gates or, as in the incident with the child, between the gate-post and the edge of the gate. A person could potentially become trapped or entangled when the gate closes, or an extremity could be severed or sheared. Vehicles are also at risk of crushing or similar damage.

How to Ensure User Safety

There are many ways to improve automatic gate safety and ensure they are safe for employees and visitors.

  • Automated gates should always be fitted with “safe edges”, so that when the gate comes into contact with a person or vehicle, it stops closing immediately and re-opens to allow the person or vehicle to be freed.
  • Gates can be fitted with light sensors – if the light beam is broken by an object, the gate motion will be reversed.
  • It is a good idea to install signs to remind people of the dangers associated with automatic gates.
  • Flashing lights and an audible alarm are useful to warn people when the gate is closing.
  • Gate personnel should always be given appropriate training to ensure they operate the product correctly.

It is a good idea to invest in a product that meets all EU Directives, such as Procter Brothers automatic gates. As a business owner, you have a responsibility to ensure the safety of staff, visitors and the general public. Gate safety is an important issue, so make sure you don’t ignore it.

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