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A Guide to Automated Gate Safety

If you’re planning on installing an automated gate or barrier system, or if you already have one at your site, it is vital to ensure that it complies with health, safety, and environmental requirements. Incorrectly installed or inadequately maintained gates could lead to serious injury and even fatality, to members of the public and employees alike. It is therefore important to recognise the risk associated with automatic gates and take the necessary steps to ensure that all persons who visit the premises are protected from the potential consequences of an accident.

There are a number of legislations and standards that govern the operation and maintenance of automatic gates. Powered gate systems are considered to be “machinery”. This means that, by law, every new powered gate, when it is put into service, must comply with the European Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC). The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing this legislation, which has been integrated into UK law, within the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008. The responsibility for complying with this law rests with either the manufacturer, supplier or installer of the gates, depending on the circumstances.

Not only do manufacturers and installers have a legal responsibility but, if powered gates are part of a workplace and the premises is managed by a business or organisation (including landlords and managing agents), they need to meet the general duty for safety under Regulation 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Owners, occupiers, landlords and managing agents all have on-going responsibilities for the safety of all users and all those who may encounter the gate, by establishing the below.

Gate systems must be:

· Properly designed, taking into account their location, and any other factors that may affect them, including weather conditions and any foreseeable misuse.

· Manufactured to the safety standards required by law, including BS EN 13241-1 and BS EN 12978. The gate should be ‘CE’ marked and you should be issued with a Declaration of Conformity if requested.

· Supplied with a complete set of documentation, including user instructions and any relevant data sheets for equipment. Your gate maintenance provider should also be able to show you how to release the gate in an emergency and the process should be quick and simple to do.

· Installed and maintained by competent contractors. Gate systems require regular inspections (at least twice a year), which can include testing of force limitation devices and adjustments for safety. Your provider should also check that safety features are in place, including safety edges, light beams or fixed guards.


Watch Systems Ltd are committed to ensuring that every automatic gate installation we undertake is compliant with the relevant industry standards and directives, and above all, can be safely operated. We offer ongoing maintenance packages to ensure that gate and barrier systems stay safe throughout their lifetime, including 6 monthly inspections and force testing. For more information, get in touch here.


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