Stamp out cowboy installers

Six years after the tragic deaths of Semelia Campbell and Karolina Golabek in two separate automated gate accidents and, six years after the inception of Gate Safe, the pioneering charity set up to improve awareness of the required protocol to deliver a safe gate. But what progress has been made?

We are pleased to report a number of positive changes since the issue of automated gate safety was first brought to the public’s attention back in 2010.

  • There is now a register of over 750 Gate Safe Aware installers in the field, all of whom have undertaken specialist training designed to provide a practical understanding of what constitutes a safe and compliant automated gate.
  • Numerous high profile professional organisations have lent their formal support to the Gate Safe campaign to help spread the Gate Safe messaging to their members. Gate Safe supporters include: 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; Risk UK (security and fire management publication) and ECS (Electrotechnical Certification Scheme) and Institution Occupational Safety and Health and O.A.P Trustworthy (national organization that vets and promotes professional services to some of the most vulnerable people in society)
  • Training exists not just for installers of automated gates but also for electricians who might be called upon to power an automated gate. Training is available either through Trade Skills 4 U or via the Gate Safe Aware ECS Related Discipline card
  • Gate Safe can now provide an unbiased, totally independent review of an automated gate in the field, helping installers / county councils / housing associations etc identify the steps that need to be taken to deliver a safe and compliant device. Equally the Gate Safe site survey can be used to put pressure on a landlord / employer to take the necessary action to mitigate any risks to the safety of gate users. To date over 70 gate surveys have been undertaken
  • Architects and other specifiers can access the online Gate Safe Visualiser – an interactive image led guide - to design in a safe automated gate installation
  • The courts have come down heavily on those companies that were involved in the unsafe gates that led to the deaths of Semelia and Karolina. Significant fines (up to £60,000) were imposed, sending out a clear message that ANY professional associated with an automated gate has a moral, legal and even financial responsibility to ensure it represents a safe installation

But this is not enough. With over 250,000 automated gates being fitted every year, and more than 5,000 installers / gate maintenance providers in the industry, we know that ‘unsafe’ automated gates are still being fitted. We also know that there are still hundreds and hundreds of gates in the field that were installed before Gate Safe was launched. Gates which are dangerous and capable of causing significant injury or worse but which remain in regular use. And we are also aware of the behaviour of some unscrupulous installers who are prepared to forfeit the need for safety (which adds to the cost of the installation) if it means that they secure the business.

So six years on since Gate Safe was formed, the charity has one over-riding request to automated gate professionals and automated gate users. Be Gate Safe Aware. If you are a professional take the Gate Safe Aware training, even if you are not an installer per se, your business will benefit from demonstrating an allegiance to - and understanding what constitutes - best practice in relation to such an important safety issue. If you are a user, insist that that automated gate that you use is installed / regularly maintained by a Gate Safe Aware installer.

We need to build a demand for professionally trained installers. Only then will we be able to stamp out the cowboys who continue – either by ignorance or greed - to install and maintain unsafe gates.