Gate Safe, the leading charity which campaigns for improved standards in automated gate safety, is launching an initiative that focuses on the important role that design plays in delivering a safe and compliant installation. In the last 10 years, accidents involving falling gates have far outnumbered those caused by the absence of the relevant recommended safety features.

While the need to incorporate the relevant combination of safety mechanisms (photocells, light curtains or laser scanners and pressure edges) remains a priority, the charity wants to draw attention to the importance of an intrinsically safe design to mitigate the risk of an accident or worse … The campaign is backed by a recent survey which saw as many as 84% installers report that they perceived unsafe design to be the most common cause for automated gate accidents in the last ten years.

Well over half of the respondents (58%) reported that the failure to eliminate hinge crushing / lack of finger guards were the most common design flaws witnessed in the field. This was followed by a lack of safeguarding against falling gates, usually as a result of the presence of only two, rather than the required three hinges and the absence of any tether – or in the case of a sliding gate – the absence or lack of appropriate support posts and end stops.

 An overwhelming majority of installers advised that well over half of all gates that they are called out to check or maintain could be classed as unsafe by design, with responsibility for these errors being largely attributed to inappropriately trained installers (62%), architects / specifiers (22%) and gate manufacturers (16%).

As a result, 90% of the installers that took part in the survey agreed there is a requirement for an awareness campaign, to educate all those in the automated gate / barrier supply chain to understand the vital role that design plays in delivering a safe and compliant installation.

The Gate Safety by Design programme will feature activity intended to attract the interest of the wide range of professionals associated with automated gate installations / maintenance and will include lobbying of gate manufacturers, development of dedicated Gate Safety by Design guide, podcast around importance of three hinges, new information sheets for installers.

Commenting on the campaign, Gate Safe founder Richard Jackson said, “The fundamental principle of creating a safe gate is reliant on understanding the importance of designing safety into the process from the outset. While we have witnessed an improved awareness of the need for photocells, pressure edges etc, it is quite clear that not only are there a vast number of unsafe gates still in the field, but there is also a significant proportion of new gates being installed which are not intrinsically safe due to the nature of the design.  This campaign is dedicated to pushing Gate Safety by Design to the top of the agenda.”