Powered perimeter gates: Third HSE Safety Alert in just 12 months

On 21 January 2011, the HSE issued its third Safety Notice within a year on the risks associated with powered perimeter gates.

The latest General Safety Notice is aimed at landlords, commercial owners or facilities managers of properties with powered perimeter gates, and what they must do to ensure the safety of people in the vicinity of such gates.

Safety risks associated with such gates became apparent following the death in 2006 of a young boy who was trapped in electronic gates as they opened.

His death led to the first HSE alert being issued in February 2010, which required any person involved in the commissioning, design, construction or installation of electrically powered gates to ensure that they undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to identify any hazards and associated risks to persons using the gates.

The Alert also required better and more effective co-operation between the work activities, and required greater consideration to be given to the competencies of contractors and sub-contractors.

Tragically, in the summer of 2010, two more children died after becoming trapped in powered gates. Another HSE Safety Notice was issued in September 2010 to reinforce and update previous information that had been provided.

The most recent HSE Safety Notice requires all landlords, commercial owners and facilities managers to check that any powered perimeter gates are maintained by a reputable company that regularly tests the safety features of the gates to ensure they are set and working correctly. The company should use measuring equipment to test the closing forces and keep a log of all maintenance.

Owners and landlords will need to ensure that the maintenance company demonstrates how to release the gate in an emergency, and that all staff or other users are trained how to do this. The relevant persons should also be shown the safety features, including any safety edges, light beams, forced limitation devices and any fixed guarding.

When purchasing a new gate, it is important you check that the installer can show you the key safety features and provide evidence that the gate is CE marked and issued with a declaration of conformity. It is imperative that you follow the advice provided in this Notice, and if your maintenance contractors are unable to show or explain any of the safety features to you, you should doubt their competence.

With three detailed HSE Safety Notice Alerts being issued within the last year, it will be extremely difficult for any person involved in the design, installation or maintenance of such gates to say that they were unaware of the risks.

Businesses should act now to ensure that the risks of powered perimeter gates are adequately assessed, and that all necessary control measures are implemented.

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