Expert Comment: Powered Gates
Powered gates, also known as electric gates or automated gates, have become more prevalent throughout the UK for reasons of convenience, security and status. However, the appearance of these gates has, in the past, sometimes taken precedent over safety. Here, Peter Granville, Partner at Broadsword Security Services, explains the safety issues that need to be considered if you already have powered gates or are thinking of having them installed…
In June 2010, the tragic deaths of two young children in separate incidents less than one week apart served to highlight the safety issues facing the UK gate automation industry. This was particularly the case since these tragedies followed so soon after the conviction of a gate manufacturer for breaches of health and safety law in relation to an earlier child fatality.
Despite the safety conscious approach of many powered gate installation and maintenance companies, regulation has been confusing, conflicting and frustrating. Consequently, there are possibly thousands of unsafe powered gates in operation in the UK with the potential to harm someone or cause further fatalities.
Two and a half years ago, and in response to installers’ concerns, the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) teamed up with the Door and Hardware Federation (DHF) with a view to standardising the powered gate sector. Six companies working in the powered gates sector volunteered themselves for scrutiny by taking part in this comprehensive pilot audit programme guided by the DHF and conducted by NSI. The programme tested the efficacy of the new Code as fit for purpose.
The new code of practice (DHF TS 011:2016) has now been successfully published and rolled out alongside the NSI powered gates certification scheme for installers to adopt. This certification scheme will reduce those safety risks associated with powered gates to as low as is reasonably practicable.
If you have an existing powered gate at your home or business, you must consider the effect of someone being harmed by this machine and the associated implications.
You can initially assess your gate by looking at the following:
- Look for crush, trap, cut, draw in and shear hazards at the hinges. This area is generally where the most force is generated when the gate is moving;
- Are there any safety devices fitted to stop someone being crushed when the gates are closing or opening?
- Do the gates open up to a solid structure i.e. a wall or fence where someone could be trapped or crushed? If so, are there safety devices fitted to prevent harm?
- This list is not exhaustive though may help with an initial assessment. Electronic and physical safety devices can usually be retro-fitted to eliminate these potential hazard areas.
If you’re thinking of installing new powered gates, the above issues can be addressed at design stage.
The safest way is to employ an installation and maintenance company which is in the NSI certification scheme or, as a minimum, works to the new DHF TS011:2016 guideline to carry out a full risk assessment.
I am proud to say that Broadsword was one of the six UK companies to be involved in the pilot scheme and subsequently achieve accreditation. We now have processes to audit against, ensuring full compliance of our powered gate installations and, most of all, contributing to making powered gates safe for the future.
Since1985, Broadsword Security Services has been protecting people and property throughout Oxfordshire and surrounding counties with its industry-leading security products and services. Based in Chipping Norton, Broadsword helps secure homes and businesses by supplying and installing intruder burglar alarms, fire alarms, CCTV, automated gates and access control systems, as well as offering a comprehensive monitoring service.
Broadsword Security Services: 01608 641670 / broadswordsecurity.com