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making gates safe
01303 840 117

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Photocells should consist of a receiver and transmitter and all of the time the receiver can “see” the transmitter it will allow the gate to operate. Depending on how they are wired to the control board the photocells will only stop the gate or barrier in the closing cycle of the gate. Typically they would not stop a gate when it is opening but if the beam is broken when the gate is closing the gate would stop and fully open again. Photocells need to fitted at the appropriate heights to enable a signal to be effectively transmitted.
The main area of risk with a rising arm barrier is someone walking under the barrier when the barrier is closing so this is the area that would need to be made safe. This can be done with photocells, safety edges or force testing. Gate Safe’s preferred option is photocells and pressure edges. Additionally there may be further trap points around the motor housing which would need to be mitigated against.
If a contractor is asked to attend to a gate, before starting he should carry out a risk assessment on the gate and its intended use. If the job that has been commissioned represents him leaving the gate in an unsafe condition, he should advise the client of the remedial works that need to be carried out to deliver a safe and compliant installation. Under no circumstances should the installer do any work on the gate unless he can be sure that the gate will be left in a safe condition after the job is completed. All details should be confirmed in writing.
The area around the hinge on a swing gate can be made safe in a number of ways. Pressure edges can be applied on the post or the gate to prevent crushing; a gaitor installed between the gate and the posts to prevent the risk of entrapment or a total redesign of the gate can be undertaken to ensure an installation where the gap does not reduce
Strictly speaking no, but you should contact the user/owner of the property and advise them verbally and also confirm the conversation in writing. If you are commissioned to review a gate it would be right to isolate the gate prior to commencing any works and not turn it back on if it is unsafe.
Our reasons are various. The fact that a gate has been force tested does not mean that it will be safe in its operation. Testing does not take into account the wind acting on a gate, which could double, or even treble the forces. Force testing only tests the leading edge of a gate and for a swing gate the forces will be increased as you approach the hinge end of the gate.
Automatic gates are covered by the Machinery Directive and should be installed with a CE mark to show compliance with all of the standards to ensure a safe operation.
If you install a gate that does not comply with the Machinery Directive and is not correctly CE marked in the event of an injury, the HSE would be likely to prosecute the installer/supplier of the machine (ie automated gate).
Simply putting the CE mark on the equipment without ensuring the gate is safe when in use will not protect an installer from prosecution
Any installer of automatic gate should have training on two levels. The Gate Safe Aware training would make the installer aware of the risks associated with the installation and use of the automated gates, and he / she would also need specific training on the equipment being installed.
Under no circumstances should an engineer work on a gate that will be left in an unsafe condition once he has carried out the work. He should advise the client of the problems verbally and in writing, and urge them to turn off the gate until a safety upgrade has taken place.
There is a legal requirement for any gate on commercial properties to be maintained annually. Please note that a house which employs a gardener or secretary is considered a commercial property. Gate Safe recommends maintenance checks every six months as a minimum.
The Gate Safe web site’s members area has templates for risk assessments along with some simple diagrams that detail some of the areas of concern. You will need to have undergone the Gate Safe Aware training to access this portal.
Two pairs of photocells should be fitted along with another different type of safety device.
There is no simple answer since this would always be site specific. But for most sliding gates it would be six or eight, for swing gates it would be five or seven, but this is totally site dependent
This can be done electronically, for example if a drive needs unimpeded access by using a time clock. Make sure you use a timer which features 365 days and be aware of calendar month date changes.

This may also require the gate to be latched, using a magnetic lock or locking operator.
Typically gaps of 100 mm (4”) should be avoided or mitigated against but Gate Safe would always recommend a risk assessment of any gate to ascertain the potential risks / hazards pertinent to each individual installation and add the relevant safety devices to eliminate the risk.
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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