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FAQs - Powered gates

What are the risks with powered (automatic) doors and gates, and how can they be controlled?

In recent years, a number of adults and children have been seriously injured or killed by this type of machinery. The injuries were caused because people have been trapped or crushed by the moving door or gate. All powered doors and gates must be properly designed, installed and maintained to prevent possible injuries.

What if I think a gate is unsafe?

Unless you’ve been working on the gate, the ‘owner’ of the gate has to ensure that the gate is safe and without risks to others. The ‘owner’ here includes landlords or managing agents with responsibility for the gate. If the owner thinks the gate is unsafe, he should take steps to make it safe – for example, by engaging a competent person to install safety mechanisms or protective devices. Meanwhile, for safety, it should be switched off, or only used safely in a supervised way, eg under direct hold-to-run control.

If you’ve been working on the gate – eg installing, repairing, maintaining the gate – then you are responsible for ensuring it is left in a safe state. You should discuss your concerns with the gate owner so that they can take action to put things right.

I’m a domestic householder, do I have to do anything?

Health and safety law doesn’t apply to you. But it is a good idea to have regular checks carried out on the gates in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This is particularly important where the gate may affect the safety of third parties – such as passers-by, children or visitors. As with other contractors, you’ll need to check that they are competent to carry out any work/inspections that you ask them to do.

Please note that anyone undertaking a ‘work activity’ on a domestic powered gate (eg repairs, checks, adjustments, servicing) will be subject to health and safety law. For further details see Powered Gates: Responsibilities.

I own commercial/industrial premises, what do I have to do?

You will have to ensure that powered doors and gates on the premises are safe. Existing powered doors and gates must be designed, constructed and maintained for safety. You will need to inspect them regularly to make sure they work properly and that protective devices are effective. In some cases, you may need to use a competent contractor to help you do this.

If you’re going to install a new powered door or gate – or ‘power-up’ an existing manually operated one - you should employ a competent installer who understands how these machines work, what the safety requirements are, how to do the work safely, and comply with the law concerning machinery supply. They should also provide you with User Instructions and details on how to maintain the gates.

I install doors and gates, what must I do?

You must be competent. This means you must understand the risks associated with these products and the law concerning supply. You should ensure that they are installed according to the manufacturers’ instructions, making checks and adjustments as necessary so they are left safe. You must give User Instructions to the client – whether domestic or commercial/industrial – on how to use and maintain the gates. If you have any concerns about the design of the gate, or its components, then you should discuss these with the manufacturer/supplier.

As a maintenance contractor, what do I have to do?

You must be competent to carry out maintenance or inspection work. This means understanding how the door or gate and its safety features work. If you find something wrong then you should talk to the owner about what you need to do to make it safe, particularly if there is a risk of injury. You need to leave the gate in a safe state. Where new components are fitted the User Instructions may need to be updated.

HSE cannot get involved in civil disputes between owners or others with responsibility and contractors where there are disagreements about maintenance, repairs or upgrading work. In such cases, the owner and the contractor need to resolve the issues; both need to ensure that people are not put at risk of harm. Organisations such as Gate Safe® and the Door and Hardware Federation may be able to help.

What are the main safety requirements for these machines?

Powered gates and doors:

  • Must be properly designed, taking full account of the environment of use, the presence of vulnerable members of the population, and potential foreseeable misuse, as well as intended use;
  • Manufactured (including when assembled from components in situ) to the safety standards required by law, regardless of whether for use in connection with work, or located on private domestic premises;
  • Supplied with all relevant documentation, particularly the User Instructions for the complete product, and where necessary of component parts;
  • Installed safely, and maintained for safety, by competent contractors;
  • If part of a workplace, be adequately inspected and maintained for safety;
  • If part of premises managed by a work undertaking (including landlords and managing agents of residential complexes), to meet the general duty for the safety of non-employed persons;
  • As necessary for on-going safety, regularly checked, which may require specific inspection, testing, and adjustment, so they remain safe; and
  • Where found to be dangerous, immediately taken out of use until all of the safety concerns have been adequately addressed.

What does the law say?

Powered (automatic) gates (barriers and doors) located in ‘workplaces’ are subject to a number of specific legal requirements. These will include requirements for:

There will also be general requirements under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in relation to risks to third parties (non-employees).

Powered (automatic) gates for use on private domestic premises must comply with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 when first installed.

Where can I get more information?

You can get more information about safe machinery and work equipment here. For more detailed information and guidance on this topic see the Powered Gate section.

HSE has worked with Gate Safe® and the Door and Hardware Federation (DHF) to produce advice and guidance on powered gates. You can get specific information on powered doors and gates from their web sites.

Updated: 2015-09-03