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Help & Advice:
Gate Safety for Schools

01303 840117

01303 840117

Tools for Schools

01303 840117

Responsibility for the health and safety of pupils and staff lies with the employer. This is primarily delegated to the Headteacher and the school's management team who must take reasonable steps to ensure that risks are effectively managed.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System

Automated gates offer an effective solution to managing access control on a school site, safely containing the children during standard hours, but also restricting the flow of additional visitor traffic to protect pupils and staff.

Whilst automated gates – classed as machines - deliver an improved level of security, unless this type of installation is appropriately installed and adequately maintained, the very device intended to protect can in fact inflict considerable harm.

Gate Safe Recommendations

Gate Safe recommends the following for all automated gates and barriers which may feature on the school site:

  • Prior to installation a thorough risk assessment should be undertaken by a competent and suitably trained installer
  • All automated gates and barriers should be fitted with at least two different types of safety devices / features. These must be correctly positioned and sufficient to mitigate or eliminate the risks associated with automated gates. Gate Safe recommends the use of photocells (or light curtains / laser scanners) and pressure edges
  • All gates should be CE marked, full training should be given to staff at handover, including a manual specifically for the gates
  • All gates and barriers must undergo routine maintenance every six months (or more if the gate has exceptionally high usage) by a suitably qualified and competent installer
  • Relevant staff must be trained to understand how to place the gate into manual operation. Staff must be aware of, and have easy access to, the manual release keys
  • Gates and barriers must be checked on a routine basis by a member of staff, follow the guidance in the chart below.

Maintenance check list for automated gates

  • Check any photocells are clear of plant debris or snow as this can block the beam and prevent the gate from operating
  • Check for wear and tear around the posts / supports and the overall construction of the gate / barrier. Make sure the gate is operating smoothly
  • Check the manual release procedure and ease of manual operation. Ensure staff continue to be aware of the procedure in the event of the gate breaking down and understand how to place it in manual operation to enable safe access and exit. If in doubt ask your maintenance company to demonstrate this for you on the next service maintenance visit
  • Ensure the track and opening area of the gate is free of debris
  • Consider any changes around the gate / barrier that could affect the safety and running of the gate i.e. new bin store being installed near the gate.

Manual gate guidance

There have been a number of accidents recorded in schools which relate to manual gates and if these installations are not routinely risk assessed, the school could be held liable in the event of an incident. If the decision is taken to install a manual gate, care must still be taken to mitigate against any potential safety hazards.

Key points to remember when installing a manual gate:

  • Finger guards should be placed over gate hinges to avoid fingers becoming trapped and a soft close feature should also be in operation to prevent further slamming or trapping of fingers
  • Hinges should feature tamperproof screws and bolts
  • All gates must deliver a clearance of between 60 – 100 mm to allow for the slope of the path / camber of the road
  • There should be a minimum of 12 mm between the gate and the gate post, to eliminate a shear risk
  • All gates should be presented in a different colour to help children / parents avoid any fear associated with not being able to identify an exit quickly
  • The failure of one component should not allow the gate to fail
In terms of maintenance, manual gates should be regularly inspected, checking for wear and tear around the posts/supports and the fabric of the gate and reviewing the overall ease of operation.

If you are in any doubt about the safety of a gate / barrier on a school site, Gate Safe is available to answer any concerns and provide unbiased, independent advice, simply call the technical help line on 01303 840 117 or email

Gate Safe also offers impartial on-site surveys of any existing automated or manual gates. By investing in our credible industry knowledge and expertise, you will be able to avoid the risk of costly litigation in the event of an accident. Please contact the above number to discuss your requirements.

Gate Safe
Beverlea, Clavertye,
Elham, Canterbury
Kent. CT4 6YE

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Working together with Gate Safe

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.

The guidance and recommendations on this website represent our interpretation of advice based on information from HSE, British Standards and relevant UK legislation. It is not a definitive statement and should be used in conjunction with your own risk assessment of the specific site prior to undertaking any works. GSSC Ltd take no responsibility for any works carried out by the Gate Safe Aware Installers or for any installations carried out using the information and advice given on this website. All content, trade marks, downloads and images are copyright Gate Safe GSSC Ltd

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