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01303 840 117

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What makes a safe gate

Take a look at the infographic to see what makes a safe gate
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How to achieve a safe manual gate


When undertaking a risk assessment on a manual gate firstly stand back from the gate and review it within its current context. Take a good look and note the way in which it opens, how far it opens, whether it can be latched open, whether there are any signs of excessive rust or rot (which could indicate possible inherent weaknesses in the structure) and any other details which might need to be taken into consideration during a risk assessment. Ideally take photographs from both sides of the gate.

The risks associated with a manual gate are:

Impact . Crushing . Shearing . Cutting . Dragging . Hooking . Excessive force

Any of the above can cause injury or possibly far worse so it is imperative that the correct steps are taken to mitigate these risks.

Impact and crushing
These would most commonly occur if:

  • The foundations supporting the gate fail, check for cracking or any evidence of movement
  • If the mechanical supports fail. Check for excessive wear and signs of rust (which could indicate metal fatigue)
  • Check that all nuts and bolts are tight for example, review the nuts on the stop brackets to ensure that they have not worked loose
  • Check there are no missing brackets or fittings. It is sometimes more difficult to notice what is not there than what is there
  • Check that all self-closing mechanisms are working correctly.
Be aware that for any site where vulnerable people are likely to be using the gate (for example a school) the gates should always feature a soft close type mechanism

Shearing and cutting
These hazards are normally as a result of an original design issue.

  • Check to see if there are any gaps that reduce as the gate opens and closes (for example between the post and the gate).
  • All gaps should be no more than 100mm and reduce by no more than 20% of the original gap to a minimum of 25mm
  • Stop plates should be positioned so that there is no risk of children coming into contact with the stop as the gate opens and closes
  • Check to see if the gate has dropped creating gaps that were not originally in place at the time of installation
Hooking and dragging
Hooking and dragging risks are probably more relevant to an automated gate but are still worthy of consideration for a manual gate, especially in a school environment. Sharp / hooked edges around the stop brackets or on the gate itself should be avoided or modified to render it impossible for them to catch / drag a person. These edges could also represent a risk in the event of someone falling on the gate, causing an injury.

Excessive force
Finally, the gates - regardless of whether they are in a swing or sliding format - should always open and close freely. They must not speed up when opening or closing and according to the British Standard, no more than 260 newtons (approximately 26kg) should be required to open or close the gate.

In plain English terms, this means that a person should be able to open the gate with ease in any weather conditions. Special care should be taken with boarded or solid gates as these are likely to be more difficult to open or close in strong wind conditions.

If you are in any doubt about the safety of the gate, seek expert advice from a Gate Safe Aware installer, visit the Gate Safe website for details of your nearest installer.

Think you have an unsafe gate?

If you think you have an unsafe gate and want to seek further advice, please contact our gate safety team on 01303 840 117, or fill out our contact form.*

We urge EVERYONE to act responsibly and to play their part in ensuring no further accidents or fatalities occur as a result of an unsafe gate.
If you spot an unsafe gate in your area, please REPORT it in strictest confidence or anonymously to Gate Safe HERE. We can help guide you to ensure the correct people are contacted. Your actions could save a life.

*Should you wish to contact us anonymously via the form, simply enter "anonymous" in the name field and "" in the email field.

Your actions could save a life.
Gate Safe
Beverlea, Clavertye,
Elham, Canterbury
Kent. CT4 6YE

t: 01303 840 117

Gate Safe is a registered charity in England and Wales (no 1149261). Gate Safe and the Gate Safe logo are registered trade marks of GSSC Ltd.

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