Gate Safety Week: The Electrician’s responsibility for the safety of automated gates

As it is Gate Safety Week, we wanted to share the following advice for electricians to encourage them to play their part in reducing the number of unsafe automated gates in the field, current industry experts estimate that over two thirds of automated gate installations fail to comply with latest legislation and could pose a serious safety risk.

Make sure that as the attending electrician you take the correct moral and legal course of action …

- Always acknowledge that the safety is the highest priority when installing an automatic gate. Never be attempted to cut corners for the sake of financial savings - if you do the consequences can be disastrous

- Comments have been made that some installers are still choosing to only offer safety equipment as an optional extra to get the job. This is clearly both unprofessional and frankly potentially dangerous, both in terms of the cost to human life – and to an electrician’s reputation which can so easily be tarnished by an accident or worse still a fatality

- Electricians should shun the automation kits which feature the minimal safety equipment and no training guidance. Such kits are simply perpetuating the risk of another accident occurring. If an automated gate does not carry the correct safety features installers should refuse to fit it and report the installation to Trading Standards

- Electricians should be aware that to fit automation equipment to a gate requires no formal qualification, however, to connect the power to the gate the installation is subject to the regulations of BS7671 and the connection should be installed and inspected by a competent person certified to Part P of the Building Regulations

- Failure to adopt the correct code of practice could put your business in jeopardy. Earlier this year, the two companies involved in the installation / maintenance of the gate that tragically killed five year old Karolina Golabek in 2010, were handed out fines which totalled £110,000, both companies were also ordered to pay £40,000 in costs. In addition to the substantial financial damage to both companies, a price cannot be put on the loss of reputation and the impact this has had on both businesses ….

Trade Skills 4 U, the no1 provider of electrical qualifications says “As with many areas of electric installation there are many risks involved some of which installers simply wouldn’t be aware of without proper training. Electric Gate Safety is one of those areas which simply isn’t on peoples radar so they just don’t even think there is a risk, however the deaths in recent years demonstrate a need for more to be done to ensure gates are installed safely. It is very admirable that the Gate Safe team are working so well to address this need and saves lives. So far we have worked seamlessly together to deliver Electric Gate Safety Courses from our Gatwick head offices which have all been well attended.”

For details of the next training course in your area, visit www.gate-safe.org or tel 01233 750 620.

Gate Safe is supported by the Electrical Safety Council, Electrical Contractors’ Association, Safety Assessment Federation, RoSPA, School SafetyMARK, Secured by Design, Trade Skills 4 U (no1 provider of electrical qualifications), International Institute of Risk and Safety Management and ECS (Electrotechnical Certification Scheme).