Schools Out - Have the electric gates been checked?

During the half term break Gate Safe is hoping that schools throughout the UK have seized this window of opportunity to undertake the necessary routine checks on any automated gates which feature on a school site.

Under the PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) regulations, it is a legal requirement to ensure an automated gate installation is adequately maintained.

Ideally, any automated gate should be checked over by a qualified Gate Safe Aware installer every six months as a minimum but even if the gate is not due its official maintenance check, School Business Managers / Caretakers should take the time to undertake their own risk assessment of the gate.

  • Is the gate operating smoothly?
  • Is the manual release button working?
  • Are the photocells clean and free of any plants / debris?
  • If you place a dustbin in the middle of the gateway when the gate is closing, does the gate stop and / or reverse before it reaches the object?
  • Are there any obstacles around the gate that could potentially be used as a climbing aid?
  • For swing gates, if the gate opens against a wall then place a dustbin behind the gate, the gate should not crush the bin, it should halt and reverse if it touches the dustbin
  • For sliding gates, try this test place a broom handle or stick through the pales of the gate when it opens onto the support posts, it should stop moving and reverse slightly when the stick finally reaches the support posts and makes contact with the rubber safety edge strips (do not under ANY circumstances use limbs for this test)
  • If mesh is fitted to protect against being drawn into the gate (machine), check that it is still attached properly to the gate and that the mesh is small enough to stop little fingers reaching the gate

If there is any doubt about the safety of a school gate, it should be placed into manual operation immediately to ensure no one is potentially hurt or injured.