The essence of a safe gate: from production to installation and use

A gate is a good solution for many companies to control access to their site. As is a robust barrier that does its job daily. However, a gate or barrier needs regular maintenance to continue to function properly. Even more importantly, this is needed to guarantee the safety of users. In this article, we will discuss all matters that are important to keep the gate safe.

Gates come in various shapes and sizes. Think of swing gates for pedestrians, speed gates for cars and sliding gates to close the entire perimeter. All different ways to arrange access to a site. Each and every one of them must meet strict safety requirements. But what exactly can you expect from your supplier? What does a supplier do to ensure a safe product? Who is responsible for the gate when it is installed on your site? And how do you prevent a gate or barrier from causing unsafe situations? We provide extensive answers to these questions in this article. But to explain those answers, we first delve into the definition of a safe gate.

What is a secure gate?

A secure gate must comply with various laws and regulations. The law distinguishes between manually operated gates and electrically driven gates. Electrically driven gates are categorized as machines. Under the Machinery Directive and national regulations, these machines must meet strict health, safety and environmental requirements. The CE mark is applied to machines that meet these requirements. This is a legally required directive that products must meet within the European Union. In addition, there are different guidelines for each country or region. In Germany and Sweden, for example, it is mandatory for owners to arrange that a certified party services gates annually. In France, every automatic gate must be equipped with a warning light and lighting. In the UK we have additional specific essential health and safety requirements.

How is a gate CE marked?

The safety requirements stipulate that machine manufacturers must limit the risks to users of injury or damage. Hazards are divided roughly into three areas:

  • Danger of collision
  • Risk of crushing
  • Risk of breakage due to the passage of limbs through a gate

When designing a gate, manufacturers identify all possible hazards. To do this, they make a risk assessment of factors such as sharp edges or areas in which a person can get trapped. During design, manufacturers must eliminate those hazards as effectively as possible. However, there are also integral parts that they cannot adjust. An electrically driven gate simply has a moving edge that can bump into someone. If producers cannot eliminate this danger, they must protect it. For example, by fitting guards or safety sensors.

Residual risks and inspection

Despite these measures, there is always a risk of residual risks. For example: a gate is equipped with safety sensors to detect people, but the gate can still bump into someone at a low speed. This is an acceptable risk, with a minimum possibility of injury or damage. Manufacturers must inform users of any residual danger. Such as by describing it in the user manual. If the risk is not acceptable, a manufacturer must adjust the design. Manufacturers must then have each new type of gate inspected by an independent body. This party assesses against the minimum requirements, as described in the relevant product standard. For example, it prescribes the maximum force that an automatic gate can exert when opening and closing. If the independent body approves, the product meets the standards of the European Union plus Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland … …