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Unsafe gates: no one person is to blame

Gate Safety Week is designed to bring the issue of automated gate safety to the fore. It is estimated that more than two thirds of all automated gates installed in the UK, fail to comply with latest legislation and could pose a serious safety risk. But who is to blame for these ‘dangerous’ gates? asks the charity Gate Safe.

The simple truth is that no one person is to blame. There are many professionals associated with the installation of an automated gate and every single one of them has a responsibility to ensure that the gate does not represent a danger to anyone that uses it. When we talk about automated or electric gate safety, there is a tendency to assume the installer is the person to whom all blame should be apportioned in the event of an accident, or worse still, a fatality. Not true.

Think about it and it quickly becomes apparent that there are many professionals who might be implicated if something goes wrong. So is it really fair to point the finger at just one of them? Consider the list of ‘experts’ who potentially could ‘gloss over’ the importance of making sure the gate is safe.

The architect – might put together initial plans which include an automated gate
The quantity surveyor – might source the gate specified by the architect
The developer / construction company – might change the specification of the gate and opt for an alternative, without necessarily checking that the new gate meets the same stringent safety requirements (eg is the gate CE marked?)
The installer – might be sub contracted by the construction company to undertake the specialist installation of a gate and also has a duty of care to pass on the relevant usage / maintenance guidance
The electrician – might potentially be the last person to ‘touch’ the gate
The insurance surveyor – should be aware if the installation represents a potential safety hazard
The property management company / letting agent / estate agent – should also be aware if the automated gate installed on the premises is not safe (just as it is required to ensure all gas installations carries the relevant safety certification)
The owner of the gate – has a duty to ensure the gate is regularly maintained (at least every six months) to ensure its continued safety and to be aware of any physical changes which might impact on the safe operation of the gate (for example, if a wall has been built in close proximity to the gate which would represent a risk not previously assessed)

Surely then there is a shared moral and legal responsibility for EVERYONE to embrace the recommended safety guidelines? Gate Safe is keen to educate all professionals AND gate owners to ensure they are aware of the appropriate protocol to follow to deliver a safe installation. The Gate Safe Aware course is open to installers and other trades, looking to improve their understanding of automated gate safety.

Visit the Gate Safe website www.gate-safe.org.


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