Wednesday, 11 June 2014

How Safe Is Your Automated Gate?

automated gate, garden security
Having an automated gate installed at your property is no longer a luxury extended to the affluent elite. Today, many home owners are interested in adding extra security measures which offer improved control over who gains access to the home, as well as helping to keep children / pets safely contained with the grounds. An additional benefit of automated gates can also include enhanced privacy and creating an effective screen from the outside world.

Automated Gates Safety Concerns


But while electric gates have become more popular, many homeowners remain oblivious to the potential dangers associated with them. An electric gate is a machine and as such, can represent a major safety hazard if the correct installation and maintenance procedures are not followed.

gate safe, automated gates
Unlike other trades, there is currently no formal professional qualification which must be passed before a tradesperson can practice as an installer. As a result, there are a number of installers in the field, who are actively promoting themselves as automated gate professionals but who lack the relevant competence, expertise and experience to deliver a safe and compliant gate. You wouldn’t dream of asking an unqualified mechanic to service your car so why would you not employ the same logic when looking for someone to install or service your gate? Three children have been crushed and killed by unsafe automated gates and many others have been injured. The charity Gate Safe (founded by Jacksons) promotes improved standards in safety for automated gates and has launched a dedicated training course for installers (accredited by the world’s biggest professional health and safety membership organization, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health). So now it is possible to source a Gate Safe Aware installer that has taken and passed the specialist training to deliver a safe automated gate. Gate Safe Aware installers can be found via the Gate Safe website www.gate-safe.org


Tips before installing your next automated gate:


· Beware of automated gate kits which make it possible to transform a regular gate into an electric machine. All too often, the suppliers of these kits have little or no installation experience and consequently, no specialist advice or guidance is issued when the item is purchased.
CE marking


·Make sure your gate is CE Marked – any gate failing to display a CE marking may possibly still be safe but it is not legal.

· All automated gates should be installed with a minimum of two types of safety feature, Gate Safe recommends that photo cells (often referred to as magic eyes that stop the gate closing on a person or a vehicle) and safety edges (fitted to protect the various trap points on a gate and when activated, stop the gate and causes it to reverse a short way) are included on all automated gates

· Regularly review the physical environment in which the gate is operating. For example, if the photocells become cluttered by litter or even snow, remember this means the safety of the gate will be compromised, although in most cases if a photocell is blocked the gate simply won’t operate

· Ensure that the gate undergoes regular maintenance inspections – a minimum of every six months

· Don’t forget to be assured by your installer that the core mechanical functionality of the gate is sound. Last year two deaths occurred as a result of heavy gates falling on top of a victim but this was not due to a failure to install the relevant safety features. Sadly the incidents were caused by an acute malfunction of the gate itself and a lacking in the basic understanding of the forces acting on the gate

To request an audit for a new / existing gate from Gate Safe Aware Installers Jacksons Fencing, visit www.jacksons-fencing.co.uk or telephone 01233 750 393.

For more information on the Gate Safe campaign, visit www.gate-safe.org or call 01233 750 620.

Gate Safe is supported by RoSPA and Secured by Design.

If you have any questions about installing an automated gate, please use the comments box below. If you family members or your neighbours are looking to install electric gates, perhaps you could share this post with them.

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