What Makes An Automated Gate Safe?

Posted by Steve Jones 20/01/2017 0 Comment(s) Gate Automation Safety,

gate automation safety


Badly designed and installed electric swing gates and sliding gates have caused significant injuries and even death. As the UK's gate automation industry is unregulated, it is important to understand the potential dangers from electric gates that have not been installed by qualified installers aware of the safety issues and best practices.


What Are The Risks?


Gate automation safety equipmentThe risks that electric gates pose depend on how gates move through their surroundings in relation to pillars, posts, walls, railings, fences and other gates. Risk is also created with the possibility of moving gates come into contact with a vehicle or person. Electric gates can cause impact, crushing, drawing in, hooking, shearing and cutting injuries.


What Makes Gates Unsafe?


As an electric gate installer is creating a new piece of machinery made up of the gate automation system, the gates themselves, existing or new gate pillars or posts and safety systems, the installation of a powered gate must comply with the Machinery Directive 2006 /42/EC.


There are complex British Standards intended to help with the identification of the range of potential risks that automated gates can pose. These can be based on system design, gate use and the environment in which the gate is located. For example, sliding gates installed on a slope will be affected by gravity and are best avoided. Swing gates that swing outward can obstruct pedestrians or vehicles so most swing inwards. Bridging particularly wide openings creates problems with the size of gates required and therefore their weight. In these cases, folding or concertina gates systems can be preferable to sliding or swing gates.


How Can The Risks Be Reduced?


A qualified installer will use a safety audit to identify the potential risks and propose systems and procedures for gate use that eliminate as many as possible. They will ensure that access to areas where risks are present or can be created is restricted or eliminated and that users are educated about the potential dangers.


Sliding gatesEquipment that may be included in safe gate design include physical guarding to prevent access to risk areas, electronic safety beam photocells before and after the gate and pressure edges on the gates and other system elements. 24V electric gate motors feature obstacle detection that ensures a gate stops and can reverse if an obstacle is encountered by the moving gate. Signage that explains safe operation of the gates can be included and all electric gate installations should have manual release systems and users should know where the manual release key is kept. These allow the gate motors to be disconnected from the gate so that the gate can easily be moved manually in the event of power failure, breakdown or emergency.


What’s The Best Way To Keep Gates Safe?


One of the simplest ways to ensure on-going safe operation of gates, within the parameters established through the safety audit, is to keep them working optimally. Electric gates should ideally be serviced annually or twice a year depending on how frequently they are used and the safety devices that have been installed. Safety devices such as photocells and pressure edges should be regularly checked to ensure correct operation.


Additional Advice


Contact us at Linkcare if you have questions or worries about the safety of proposed or existing gate automation. We supply a huge range of safety equipment, recommend only the best installers and keep up to date on safe gate design and installation. 

Tags: safe-gates

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