Powered gates: the basics

Powered gates are machines which need to be properly designed, manufactured, installed and maintained to avoid serious, even fatal, injuries. Most are located in areas where vulnerable people may be put at risk.

Powered gates are subject to product safety and health and safety law. As they are frequently unique machines the assessment of risk is a vital part of their design and construction. Powered gates will need to be checked regularly and maintained to remain safe in use. While health and safety law does not apply to domestic householders with (privately owned) powered gates, they may still be liable for any harm or damage they cause.

Risks from powered gates

Powered gates can give rise to a number of significant hazards, including those from being:

Most powered gates are located outside where the weather can affect safety at any time, eg:

Hazards may also arise during work on them, eg:

The basics for safety

Powered gates must be:

Where powered gates are found to be dangerous they should be taken out of use immediately until all of the safety concerns have been adequately addressed. In the case of temporary and/or shared responsibility (eg while working on the gates) an appropriate course of action will need to be agreed between all parties involved.

Users should know how to switch the machine off, or to a safe condition (eg hold-to-run mode) promptly in the event of impending danger or malfunction.

The law

When first supplied (or first put into service) all powered gates are subject to the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations - 2008. In addition to the gate's meeting Essential Health & Safety Requirements (EHSRs) all customers are entitled to receive comprehensive User Instructions and a Declaration of Conformity in English. Appropriately conformity marking and labelling must also be affixed. Certain powered gates may also be subject to the requirements of the Construction Products Regulation, including being accompanied by a Declaration of Performance.

If powered gates are part of:

The same requirements apply to the conversion of existing manual gates to powered operation.

Health and safety law does not apply to domestic householders with (privately owned) powered gates, but will apply to all those working on them as part of a work activity. However, householders may be sued for any harm or damage their gates cause.

Updated: 2023-03-09