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The risks of an automatic gate and how to minimize these

Do you own an automatic gate? And do you know that the safety and maintenance of your gate is your responsibility? In this blog we explain the risks you could be running and how these risks can be minimalized.  Ensure that access to your site is always controlled and safe.

An automatic sliding gate is a machine version of a manual gate, so why is safety important? Because that ‘machine’ falls under other laws and regulations than a manual gate. An automatic sliding gate must comply with the so-called CE mark, which applies to products within the European Union. In particular, these rules are intended to make the product safe.

How secure is your gate?

The CE marking obliges manufacturers to supply safe gates. But what is a safe gate, and how do we guarantee this safety? It all starts with designing the gate. A manufacturer maps all possible hazards with a risk analysis for each design. Think here of sharp edges or possible pinch points. If there is a possible danger, the manufacturer must eliminate that in the design as best possible. Functional parts where this is not possible must be made safe by the manufacturer; for example, through guards or safety sensors. And if there are still residual risks, these should be acceptable when the manufacturer points them out to users, such as in the user manual.

We are also required to have each new type of gate inspected by an independent inspection institute. They check for all minimum requirements as described in the product standard. For example, what maximum force an automatic sliding gate may exert when opening and closing. Additional rules apply depending on the country in which a producer operates. A manufacturer is free to add additional components to make the product even safer.

What is your responsibility?

Many employers are not aware that CE certification applies to them as well. If you want to install an automatic sliding door, you are legally required to purchase a CE-certified product. If the fence causes material damage or injury, you must prove as the owner that the gate functioned correctly and complies with all applicable rules. If you can’t prove this, you run the risk of being held liable and your insurance will not pay out. In addition to the risk of accidents, you also run the risk of stalling your business processes. We have listed some possible risk areas for you.

1. Poor maintenance

A machine consists of hundreds of components that need to be regularly checked and maintained. This is the only way to ensure that your sliding gate continues to function optimally and to guarantee the safety of the installation. In several European countries, it is even compulsory to have the machine tested (half) annually to assess whether the installation is still working safely.

2. Third-party adjustments

Is the maintenance on the automatic sliding gate done by a party other than your manufacturer or supplier? It often happens that parts are removed, fitted or replaced without thorough analysis. Modifications by third parties may result in an unsafe gate and an invalid CE declaration. Ask your maintenance supplier to register any modifications to the gate and provide any required CE declarations.

3. Situation around the gate changes

When installing your gate, the installer adjusts the safety features to the current situation around the gate. This includes vegetation, buildings, fencing and other security aspects. However if this situation changes, you run the risk that your automatic sliding gate is no longer safe, and additional measures may be necessary.

What can you do yourself?

As an owner, you can do a number of things yourself to prevent the failure of your gate. In doing so, we emphasize that an automatic sliding gate is a complex installation with numerous moving components and a mains voltage supply. So you probably do not want to alter those items yourself. However, you can keep the space in which the gate moves free and clean. Think here of pruning vegetation around the gate or cleaning the rails to avoid obstruction. Always first read the user guide provided to know exactly what you should and should not do.

For genuine maintenance tasks we recommend hiring an expert who checks your machine at least once a year. Always hire a provider who has experience with your installation and guarantees the durability of your gate. This not only prevents adverse incidents, but also increases the safety of your site. At Heras, we only work with qualified technicians who are skilled in gate maintenance.

Has it been a while since your last gate maintenance? Then register now for the Heras gate safety check and let us inspect the safety of your gate.