Additional physical factors influencing a safe installation

Another accident overseas has highlighted the importance of following the correct guidance when installing a security gate, regardless of whether it is powered or manual.
An 83-year-old pensioner narrowly escaped death in the Western Cape province of South Africa after impaling her chin on the spikes of a security gate. The woman lost consciousness when she was about to unlock the gate, resulting in her falling onto the spike and literally hanging from it until she was released by emergency services. Luckily, a friend called for help and the emergency services managed to free the victim, who survived the incident after doctors confirmed that the metal spike had just missed an artery.

This distressing case study confirms two pieces of Gate Safe guidance:

  • Security topping for any manual or automated gate should only feature at a height where it is not possible for the general public to come into contact with them
  • A gate design that incorporates vertical pales must ensure that the gaps between pale is less than 100 mm to mitigate against the risk of someone’s head becoming wedged between the uprights

Commenting on the recent story, Gate Safe founder Richard Jackson said:

“Gate safety does not just relate to fitting the correct safety equipment to an automated gate. Badly designed or poorly maintained manual gates have caused as many accidents as automated gates. Gate Safe has always promoted a risk assessment led approach, which requires an overall review of all the factors that could potentially jeopardise the safety of the installation. Ever since Gate Safe has been in existence, we have referred to the importance of the design, construction, siting and actual correct fitting of the gate as significant contributory influences capable of resulting in a dangerous and unsafe device. Reviewing a gate in terms of its ability to offer the required safety features alone is not enough, every gate should be subject to a thorough risk check, not just at the point of installation but on a regular basis thereafter as the physical setting of the gate may change over time – as indeed may the owners of the gates and their specific requirements.”