Gate Safety Week: Time to play the fear factor card?

It’s been four years since Gate Safe was first started and whilst we feel we have made significant headway, there is still much to be done to improve awareness levels regarding the importance of automated gate safety.

Although the press was alive with reports of the tragic accidents that led to the death of Semelia Campbell and Karolina Golabek, sadly there is currently limited interest in the issue despite the fact that over two thirds of automated gates in the UK, almost certainly are unsafe.

However, Gate Safe continues to challenge all professionals associated with the automated gate industry demanding that they pay attention to, and don’t overlook critical safety guidance. It is hard to imagine a society that refuses to accept the need to have a car regularly serviced by an authorised mechanic. Or one where a child is allowed to play with a dangerous machine. Why then are we so complacent when it comes to automated gates?

Perhaps the only way to really drive home the message is to play the fear factor card.

So an architect chooses (blindly, rarely with intent) not to specify the correct safety for an automated gate. The quantity surveyor does not necessarily question what is being ordered for the site. The installer might remain oblivious to the need to adopt the correct protocol to deliver a safe and compliant installation. The electrician does his job by adding power to the gate. Education remains the key to resolving these issues but maybe fear is the catalyst to ensuring these professionals accept the urgency of improving their knowledge and understanding.

Shouldn’t the architect be fearful of losing customers if he / she is found to be specifying gates which are not intrinsically safe? Shouldn’t the installer and the quantity surveyor be fearful of losing their job for the part they have played in creating an unsafe and potentially lethal machine? Shouldn’t any professional associated with the gate have a moral fear that his / her ignorance might ultimately be responsible for an accident or far worse?

Gate Safe has never been an advocate of scare mongering but perhaps now is the time to change tack.

Take a look at the facts surrounding the accident that resulted in Semelia Campbell’s untimely death. The construction company involved in the installation is now in administration. The directors of that company will never shake off the damage to their reputation. The employees of that company have lost their jobs. Look at the two companies recently fined for their part in the accident that killed Karolina Golabek. They were found guilty of breaching safety laws and the fines handed out totaled £110,000, both companies were also ordered to pay £40,000 in costs. Two children’s lives have been taken. Why? Because someone failed to specify, and then order, the correct safety devices to make the gate safe. So by simply omitting a few words lives are changed.

Is asking someone to attend a half-day course, that costs under £200 such a big price to pay. In the context of the above Gate Safe thinks not ….