Powered gate owners are being urged to have their gates checked for safety after a court heard how a defective works gate collapsed and seriously injured an employee.
The advice has been issued by the Door & Hardware Federation, whose Powered Gate Group represents the leading manufacturers, suppliers, installers and maintainers of powered automatic gates and gate automation equipment.
A court heard that a leaf of the telescopic gate came out of its runners and collapsed on the man. As a result of the accident in Caerphilly the man was hospitalised for ten days and was off work for a year.
Advanced Gate Ltd, Mid Glamorgan, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.
The court heard how the company was contracted to manufacture and install the gate system. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the underlying failure of the gate mechanism was as a result of inadequate design, assessment and control measures to ensure the gate was safe for use.
HSE inspector Dean Baker said after the hearing: "Powered gates pose a risk to employees and members of the public. Those responsible for installing, maintaining and operating these gates need to make sure they are safe during installation and use. This accident could have been avoided if the clearly foreseeable risk of the gate falling had been identified and controlled."
Said DHF general manager and secretary Michael Skelding: "This case underlines how important it is that automated gate owners - and all those responsible for their maintenance - must insist that the company used to install or do work on a powered gate employs properly qualified installation engineers.
"Unfortunately, unsafe installations are still being carried out by untrained personnel which results in gate installations which do not comply with legislations and are potentially dangerous. As an industry we are determined to keep on raising safety standards and confine accidents caused by dangerous gates to the history books."
Detailed guidance on powered gate safety, including specific guidance relating to telescopic gates, can be found on www.dhfonline.org.uk . In addition, there is information about DHF safety training courses for gate installers. Visitors to the website can also access the contact details of more than 100 qualified manufacturers, suppliers, installers and maintainers of powered gates and powered gate automation equipment.