One of the most important weeks in October for anyone within the gate industry should always be Gate Safety Week. Powered gates are becoming increasingly popular however, the gate industry has experienced issues with poorly installed and maintained gates leading to serious accidents and fatalities. From 9-15 October 2017, Gate Safety Week ran to raise awareness of powered gates and to prevent accidents, here Portcullis Gates share their thoughts on the #SafeGatesSaveLives campaign.
What is Gate Safety Week?
Gate Safety Week is an initiative created by DHF to raise awareness about the safety concerns of powered gates within the industry. According to DHF, only 30% of all powered gates operated in the UK are deemed fit for purpose. The deaths of six adults and three children provide are stark reminders.
Alongside raising awareness about the dangers of poorly maintained gates, Gate Safety Week hopes to share information on how to ensure that your gates meet safety standards. It is crucial for any gate owner, provider or expert to be able to understand the dangers of unsafe powered gates and how to effectively install and maintain powered gates.
The Dangers of Unsafe Powered Gates
While they are undoubtedly convenient, powered gates can still pose risks. Although the health and safety law may not apply to domestic homeowners, private powered gate owners can still be liable for any harm or damage caused by their gates. Dangerous incidences caused by unsafe gates may include human safety concerns such as people being hit by the gate or electrocuted by the motors, weather related concerns such as the gates blowing over, or work related concerns such as them moving unexpectedly if not sufficiently restrained when maintenance is underway.
To prevent your gates from becoming unsafe, it is important to ensure that they are installed correctly and that regular checks are undertaken to ensure that their safety is maintained.
How to Ensure Effective Installation of Powered Gates
By law, all powered gates must be installed in accordance with the Machinery Directive as noted by recent safety advisories from the Health and Safety Executive. In addition, a product standard for gates is in place to aid manufacturers and installers in meeting gate safety requirements.
It is advised that your powered gates are installed by a professional to prevent accidents or injury, especially as these types of gates are reliant on an electrical supply to power the motors. Choosing which provider to go with can be tough however, it is always recommended that you choose a company that is bound by a Code of Practice and can meet current technical standards; we recommend choosing a DHF Automated Gate Group member.
Regardless of whether a client is commercial or residential, user instructions must be supplied so that the client is aware of how to maintain the gates.
Finally, laws are in place concerning supply. These laws detail information about the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure that the powered gates are implemented in accordance with the Supply of Machinery Safety Regulations. These regulations take into account the environment as well as potential risks to safeguard your installation process.
How to Ensure Effective Maintenance of Powered Gates
To make sure that you are correctly maintaining your powered gates, refer to the user instructions that you were provided when you purchased your gate system. Dependent on the location of your gate, you will either be subject to health and safety laws or you will have continual responsibility to ensure that your gate is safe to anyone who may encounter it.
Be sure to perform regular checks on your gate. If component parts appear to need replacing, contact a professional to replace that part of your gate system. Some gate suppliers provide a maintenance and repair service which can be preventative or reactive dependent on your needs. These services are run by professional engineers who will assess the situation and take responsibility for leaving your gate in a safe condition.
How to report an unsafe gate
If you notice that a gate is unsafe or dangerous don’t simply ignore it, be sure to pass the matter on to the gate or site owner. If possible, put this into writing and include reasons as to why you believe the gate is unsafe so the owner can quickly resolve the issue.
If you wish to take the matter further by reporting to an authority, then the correct authority must be contacted. Powered gates that are in residential, agricultural, construction or industrial areas should be reported to the HSE. Commercial premises should be referred to the Local Authority Health Department and for private domestic premises, you should contact the local Trading Standards Service.
Discussing the matter of gate safety, Justin Earl, Managing Director of Portcullis Gate Automation said:
“As a DHF accredited gate specialist, we take gate safety incredibly seriously. We think that the Gate Safety Week is an incredibly important time of the year and we wholeheartedly support DHF with their #SafeGatesSaveLives campaign.
“Too many people have been tragically affected by a lack of safety and compliance across the industry which is why we place the safety of gates at the top of our priority list.”
Gate Safety Week is an annual awareness week, to find out more information please visit dhf.