With a growing number of schools designing automated gates into the entry and exit points within the campus, the reality is that the very device intended to enhance your child’s safety is in fact potentially posing a genuine threat to their well-being.
Since automatic gates are not currently covered within the Ofsted or ISI reporting, if an unsafe gate is in existence, it is unlikely to be picked up. But ignorance is far from bliss if a child suffers a traumatic injury at the hands of a dangerous machine.
At Gate Safe we recommend the following for all automatic gates and barriers which may feature on the school site:
- Prior to installation a thorough risk assessment should be undertaken by a competent and suitably trained installer
- All automatic gates and barriers should be fitted with at least two different types of safety devices / features. These must be correctly positioned and sufficient to mitigate or eliminate the risks associated with automated gates. Gate Safe recommends the use of photocells (or light curtains / laser scanners) and pressure edges
- All gates should be CE marked, full training should be given to staff at handover, including a manual specifically for the gates
- All gates and barriers must undergo routine maintenance every six months (or more if the gate has exceptionally high usage) by a suitably qualified and competent installer
- Relevant staff must be trained to understand how to place the gate into manual operation. Staff must be aware of, and have easy access to, the manual release keys
- Gates and barriers must be checked on a routine basis by a member of staff
If in any doubt about the safety of a school gate, ask for an independent site survey. The cost of such an exercise is a drop in the ocean compared to the damage that can ensue if a child is injured. Visit https://gate-safe.org/help-and-advice/gate-users/ for more details on gate surveys.