Automatic Gate Safety – What You Need to Know
Automatic gate systems are heavy moving objects that require safe, professional installation and setup, as well as rational usage and regular ongoing maintenance. Unfortunately, over the years some terrible accidents involving automatic gates have occurred – which could have been avoided.
At Fencemakers, creating a safe product is our number one priority. Our 20 years’ experience combined with our ongoing desire for improvement has enabled us to create a range of gate systems that look great and will last the test of time – and, most importantly, are safe.
Here are a few things you should consider before installing or servicing an electric gate.
New Automatic Gate Installations
Firstly, check who is installing your automatic gate system. These days there are too many companies or sole traders who are installing automatic gate systems without the required skills, knowledge, council approvals or licenses.
With the advent of the internet, it has is now easier than ever to advertise directly to consumers, as well as make false claims.
If you are looking to engage a gate contractor you should always do your research to ensure they have the skills and capabilities to complete the job safely and to the highest standard. Don’t be afraid to ask for examples of previous work completed and customer references. You can also request a visit to their office or factory. (NOTE: if a company does not have a business address, how can you guarantee you’ll be able to get in contact with them if there is any issue once your job has been completed and paid for).
Also, all electrical work for your gate system should be completed by a qualified registered electrician. All qualified electricians should be able to provide a copy of their Department of Fair Trading licence.
Older & Existing Automatic Gate Systems
A gate that is over 5 years old and has not been maintained on a regular basis may no longer meet safety standards. It is important to have your system checked and updated to ensure all safety components are working. Electric gates require regular maintenance and servicing to ensure they work as intended.
Guidelines for the safe operation of your automatic gate system:
- Do not tailgate another vehicle through the gate opening.
- Never stop in the path of an automatic gate.
- Do not let children play on or near the gate (A gate is not a swing. This is especially important for swinging gates!).
- Never operate the gate unless you can see it, to avoid the gates colliding with people, vehicle and any other objects in the way.
- Do not modify your automatic gate system.
- Regularly service your automatic gate system and report any faults immediately.
Safety devices available for automatic gates include:
- Auto-Reverse Function: Your automatic gate system should come standard with this feature, which will stop and reverse the automatic movement of your gate if it impacts a vehicle or other obstruction. If the system you are looking to install does not have this as a minimum safety feature, look for a different model and gate contractor.
- Photo-Electric Safety Beams: These sensors can be added to any automatic gate system and will detect anything in the gate’s swing area, stopping operation so no-one gets hurt and no vehicles or other objects get damaged. Ideally, two sets of beams should be included to provide the utmost safety.
- In-Ground Loop Detectors: These detect the metal in vehicles and will prevent the gate from operating until the vehicle has cleared the gate opening area. These can be installed in the driveway surface between the gate posts and are often installed for large gates in commercial environments.
- Rubber Safety Edges: These can be added to older systems which do not have the auto-reverse function to help prevent injury or damage to vehicles and objects.
- Manual Over-Ride Switch: This is a keyed latch that allows the automation to be disconnected from a gate quickly and efficiently. These are important if there is fault with the gate automation or in the event of a power failure.
All Fencemakers’ automatic gates have industry-leading safety features as standard.
If you would like more information on our range of gates, including safety features for your current gates, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to come to site, discuss different gates options and provide you with a free, no-obligation quote.