When looking at the safety required on a gate or barrier the first and foremost requirement is to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment which considers all the risks and dangers around the gate and the surrounding site. The only way that this can be successfully achieved is to ensure that the person carrying out the assessment is suitably trained.
Without a complete understanding of the risks linked to the gate, it is impossible to put in place the correct safety measures. A starting point will be to consider the basics:
- Is the gate vulnerable to a single point failure?
- Are the foundations suitable for the intended structure?
Remember if the gate is to be automated, this will result in an additional load being inflicted, so while the foundations may be appropriate for a manual gate, they may not be conducive or sufficiently robust for an automated installation.
Once these basics have been covered off it is time to address any possible risks such as crushing around the hinge and potential impact from the gate in the opening or closing phases. When these have been identified the next step would be fitting suitable safety features to mitigate the hazard(s). Gate Safe has consistently voiced the opinion that in an ideal world, the gate or barrier should, if possible, never come into contact with a person. Therefore, photocells, light curtains and laser scanners should always be the first line of defence, and these should be further backed up with the application of safety edges.
When the assessment and installation has been completed then the final and most important part of the safety review – which should never be omitted – is to check that the safety devices are working as intended. It is all too easy to allow a simple oversight like this negate all the good work undertaken via the risk assessment and installation.