Advice on horizontal swing car park barriers

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is aware of accidents including fatalities as a result of incidents involving horizontal swing barriers which are found in car parks used in retail and many other premises.

A barrier typically comprises of a horizontal bar or beam hinged at a vertical pillar. The bar is manually moved to open or close off access to an opening in a car park exit/entrance.

Accidents have occurred when barriers have been inadequately secured so that they have partially opened and presented a least visible end on profile of protruding barrier which has impaled an oncoming vehicle. The end profile of the barrier may not be clearly visible to an oncoming driver. Other incidents have occurred as a barrier has swung into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Unsecured barriers can swing open due to the wind, gravity or as a result of vandalism.

Following discussions with Local Authority Partners, HSE has decided to produce this information to remind users of their duties in relation to the safe use of such barriers.

Duty holders include persons in charge of the entrances to industrial estates, retail premises, leisure premises, sporting complexes, parks, farms etc. In short any premise with a car park entrance or exit to which members of the public and workers have vehicular access, may utilise such barriers.

Vertically opening or lifting barriers can also present safety risks if they are not correctly controlled.

Duty holders are reminded of their responsibilities in relation to barriers. They include: