News this week of a 40-year old actress impaling herself after attempting to scale gates to her residence are further proof of the fact that the relevant safety devices alone do not necessarily make for a safe gate – and the overriding need to always review the physical structure of the gate itself.

This serious accident could have been prevented if the appropriate steps had been taken:

  1. Access to footholds or handholds should be removed from an automated gate to prevent climbing. Similarly, any devices that may be used to stand on as a climbing aid should be removed
  2. Gates should not feature splay or cut spikes which could trap a person’s fingers and potentially leave them hanging
  3. Spike tops and decorative finials should not feature where there is a risk that someone could fall on them, typically they should be a minimum of 1.8m above the ground
  4. As a general rule of thumb, no security topping should be fitted if there is a chance a member of the general public could come into contact with it

In this unfortunate case, the actress sustained an injury where the spike pierced her thigh from one side to the other and firefighters were called to cut the spike off the gate.

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