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New safety advice to prevent crushing by electric gates

Installers, designers, maintenance firms and manufacturers of electric gates, are being urged to seriously consider new safety advice issued by the Health and Safety Executive today, following the recent deaths of two children involving these gates.

The safety alert points out that limiting the closing forces of gates alone will not provide sufficient protection to meet the relevant standards, and installers must fit additional safeguards to gates in public areas.

HSE’s Director of Field Operations, David Ashton, said:

“Electric or automatic gates are designed to stop if someone gets in the way, and installers and those maintaining these gates have a real duty to ensure this happens. They must take their responsibilities seriously to make sure that anti-crushing, shearing and trapping safety protection devices are correctly set and maintained.”

Today’s alert follows a similar notice issued in February this year reminding gate manufacturers and installers of their safety responsibilities when designing, building and installing electrically powered gates.

On 28 June this year, Semelia Campbell, 6, died when she was crushed by electric gates in Manchester. A few days later on 3 July, Karolina Golabek, 5, was also crushed to death by electric gates in Bridgend, South Wales.

HSE’s advice today also reminds those in control of the maintenance of electric gates to regularly review their risk assessments, taking account of or any changes to the operating conditions or environment.

If, like us, you are wondering why the HSE has been obliged to issue two similar safety notes within months of each other, you well may conclude that current legislation and penalties for breaches are inadequate to ensure the safety of the public and that manufacturers, installers and maintenance companies need to be continually exhorted and pressurised to do the right thing.

The tragic deaths of these two young children have occurred at a time when the UK’s health & safety legislation is under scrutiny by Lord Young. He is poised to report his findings to the government at the end of the month, following a review of ‘silly health & safety legislation’ and the associated ‘red tape’ which is stifling British industry. From Lord Young’s comments to date on the so-called ‘compensation culture’ and the need to allow people to manage risk in a more pragmatic (i.e. cost-effective) manner, we are not at all hopeful that the UK will be a safer place as a result of his work.

If you or a member of your family have been hurt or injured in a public place, perhaps as the result of faulty machinery or equipment you can contact us for free, expert legal advice. Call FREEPHONE 0800 163 978