Staying Safe With Automated Gates

The potential dangers of automated gates are huge. As soon as you add automation to a gate you are effectively creating a machine and as such, a vast array of regulations and standards come into play, such as the Supply of Machinery Regulations 2008, the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 and The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Standards must be met or else companies manufacturing and installing automated gates can face substantial monetary fines and even prison sentences where serious breaches occur. 

Technical specifications of any automated gates either manufactured or installed, must be kept for a minimum ten years. Included in the file should be a list of the risks presented by the gate and descriptions of the solutions adopted. Manuals for the installation and maintenance of the gate and its components, operating instructions and general warnings for safety should be compiled and a copy given to the user along with a Logbook to allow ongoing maintenance to be recorded.

What automated gates are considered ‘high risk’?

An automated gate is considered high risk when it is installed in an area where: 

  • there are multiple occupants

  • there are children, pets or elderly or disabled persons

  • there is free public access

  • there are remotely operated or automatic gates

Risk also increases when it is not possible to instruct, train or supervise a gate operator or appoint authorised users, and also when a high number of persons are regularly using the automated gate.

How can automated gates be made safer?

There are a range of safety devices that can be used to make automated gates safer, including force limitation, photocells and presence detectors. When they are opening and closing, the force of the gates should be limited to those in the British/European standards and the gates should also reverse if they hit someone or something. ‘Safety edges’ or safety bumpers can be attached to any part of the gate where a collision with a person or object may occur. They will stop the gate opening or closing with the slightest impact. 

Photocells consist of a receiver and transmitter. All of the time that the receiver can “see” the transmitter it will allow the gate to operate. However, if when the automated gate or barrier is closing the signal is broken, the gate will stop and fully open again. Photocells need to fitted at the correct height to a) enable a signal to be effectively sent between transmitter and receiver and b) to be broken by persons, vehicles or pets crossing the threshold. 

Presence detectors use infra-red to detect persons, objects or movement within a certain area around the gate. Presence detection ensures safety in and around the closing area, preventing the automated gate from shutting if someone or something is in the way. There are many different types for use on a variety of gates in various location types.

Eliminating the risk of gate automation through design

Special arrangements need to be made to prevent bodies, limbs or fingers entering any spaces in the machinery and activation controls must not be in a position in which the person activating the automated gate is in danger. Of course, if you’re opening your garage door or automated gate using your smartphone, this is not a problem. 

Hinges and pillars must be carefully positioned and where possible, risks should be eliminated through design rather than controlled with safety features.Regular safety reviews or assessments must be carried out to ensure that the gate automation continues to function properly and remain safe to use. Forces should be periodically remeasured and safety features checked on a regular basis.

West London Security can help

West London Security provide a complete automated gate and barrier service. We've been manufacturing and installing hinged and sliding gates for more than 15 years and even have our own gate fabrication workshop. We install all types of automated gates, from roller shutters and cantilever gates to FAAC traffic barriers, rising bollards and automated parking systems. 

Our automated gates are compliant with all of the latest safety regulations and manufacturing standards and we will continue to maintain and regularly assess the safety of your gates after installation. So if you’re considering upgrading your existing gate automation or adding new automated gates to your protect your home, school or business give us a call on 020 8676 4300 or drop us a message and we’ll get in touch.