Safety & Compliance
If you have been searching online or have begun talking to gate automation companies, it is likely you are already aware or have been advised of the importance of safety. This advice may range from:
“Oh yeah, you’ll need a pair safety photocells and a safe edge”
“Your design must be given a proper risk assessment and all the identified risks of injury reduced to an acceptable level either by design or by the use of compliant safety devices. You will also need a certified force test together with all the relevant documentation to demonstrate compliance with the Health & Safety at Work Act and/or The Supply of Machineries Act”.
We can all guess which is the right response but the wrong advice can leave both you and the installing company liable to prosecution at best and serious injury at worst for those who use the gates.
An automation company has a legal duty to commission a new installation or upgrade and maintain an existing system in a manner that is compliant to The Machine Directive 2006/42/EC. To do this will also ensure that all non-domestic installations comply with the Health & Safety at Work Act.
Following deaths and serious injuries from automated gates the Health & Safety Executive has published Bulletins and Guidelines for both domestic and non-domestic applications where, for instance, there are persons with responsibility for employees, public and visitors. With the guidance and endorsement of the Health & Safety Executive The Door Hardware Federation has established a Powered Gate Group to raise the standards within the industry and to offer guidance to purchasers and users of automation.
- Must be installed to a standard compliant with the Machine Directive 2006/42/EC
- The HSE recommends periodic maintenance but you should be aware there is a duty of care placed on the owner to ensure that at all times the system is safe.
- Insurers are unlikely to cover losses through injury or accident where it cannot be demonstrated that an automated gate has been maintained as safe in operation as this will be seen as a failure to disclose material evidence.
- For the very reason listed above it is sensible to have the automation serviced at least once a year as you would your boiler or your car. This will help ensure the gate is secure, the automation is functioning properly and the safety devices are operating correctly.
- The level of compliance for your system may change if you employ people such as a gardener, a nanny, cleaner or domestic staff. At this point you will automatically take on liabilities under the Health & Safety at Work Act.
Non-Domestic Installations (any premises where people carry out the duties of their employment)
- Must be designed and installed in a manner compliant with the Machine Directive 2006/42/EC.
- Must be serviced to maintain compliance with the Machine Directive 2006/42/EC. This must include a regular and certified force test together with recorded testing of the safety devices and their correct function.
- This will contribute to a compliance with the Health & Safety at Work Act.
It is unfortunate that throughout the gate automation industry there has been such a varied degree of understanding of what is required to meet the requirements of the regulations. This does nothing to help clients determine whether they are making the right choice of installing company. We hope that the limited information you have found here will be of some assistance and would encourage you to seek further advice and confirmation as part of the impartial and professional services offered by the DHF both online at their website and in person by telephone.Read More
The automation industry as a whole is working together to make sure that everyone who installs, owns or is responsible for any automation fully understands their responsibility and their liability. As all automation systems are legally regarded as a machine, the standards for manufacture, installation and use of ALL automation systems is governed by the Machineries Act 2006/42/EC and the associated European harmonised standards.
The DHF is currently working to create a standard of compliance with the regulations which makes provision for training, accreditation and ultimately for licensing of companies and installers. The DHF have the support of the Health & Safety Executive and The Trading Standards Agency and are currently working with the NSI to develop the mechanism for inspection and auditing of installation companies.
All of this work is directed at reducing the risk of injury associated with automation by raising awareness, raising standards of installation and compliance and by ensuring that it is installed, maintained and managed by qualified and accredited companies.
As members of the DHF we fully support their aims and comply with their expectations of our membership of the Powered Gate Group. We attend their training and actively contribute to their work toward achieving a safer industry.