Powered Doors, Gates & Barriers Legislation
Tailored advice to indicate what you need to do to meet your legal responsibilities for the safety of powered doors, gates & barriers.
What are the Basic Safety Requirements?
Powered doors, gates & barrier systems are legally considered to be “machinery”. This means every new automated system, when put into service, must comply with the Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) specifically the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) EHSRs cover all aspects of health and safety of machine users and whoever else may be affected.
All doors, gates & barriers should be CE marked, accompanied by a Declaration of Conformity and a technical file. They must be compliant with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008, which states the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has lead responsibility for enforcement of the Machinery Directive.
The responsibility for complying with the powered doors, gates & barriers legislation lies with the Responsible Person. Compliance with the legislation should involve a risk assessment, to fulfil the EHSRs. A risk assessment should include identifying what hazards may occur during the gate’s lifecycle, estimating the severity of the risk and evaluating any necessary risk reduction measures to put into place. Where risk reduction is not possible, adequate warnings and instructions should accompany the gate.
The location, weather conditions, possibility of vulnerable users and the risk of misuse must be considered during design. They should be installed, regularly checked, maintained and adjusted by competent engineers.
Users should be given detailed, easy to read instructions for safe operation.
The use of standards, such as BS EN 13241-1 the product standard for powered doors and gates, BS EN 12604 on mechanical requirements and tests and BS EN 12453 on requirements and test for powered gates, to name a few, is not mandatory. It does not alone ensure the EHSRs of the Machinery Directive have been met.
Owners, occupiers and users
Owners and occupiers of commercial premises with powered doors, gates & barriers have duties under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. These include basic safety by construction (Regulation 18) and for maintenance (Regulation 5). They may also have duties under Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for the safety of persons (including the public) they do not employ.
While the responsibility for safe design / construction and installation may rest with others, the owner / user should ensure that the installed product is safe, and kept safe. In particular they should study the User Instructions that must come with the product, assessing what servicing and inspection / safety checks may be necessary.
While health and safety law does not apply to owners of powered doors, gates & barriers on domestic (privately owned) premises, it is strongly recommended that they are checked regularly.
In all cases it is recommended that the competence and expertise of anyone working on powered doors, gates & barriers is checked.
Users should be given information on how to safely switch the system off, or into a safe mode such as hold-to-run, and where necessary, how to release a person if they become trapped by the gate/door/barrier. This should be passed on to all who need this information.
Landlords, or those responsible for powered doors, gates & barriers as part of a work activity (eg managing agents), have duties under Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for the safety of people (including the public) they do not employ.
They are expected to maintain similar standards of safety for construction, inspection and maintenance as employers have under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. If competent contractors advise that the equipment is unsafe prompt action should be taken to ensure the safety of everyone.
Those assessing, inspecting, checking, maintaining and repairing powered doors, gates & barriers as part of a work activity have duties for safety under Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Essentially they should not put others (including the public) at risk. For example, following any maintenance or repair work the gate must be left safe.
Anyone working on powered gates should be competent (eg have appropriate mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic knowledge, together with the ability where necessary to verify and test both parts and the final product). Specialist equipment may be needed, eg to test force limitation values.
Records of servicing, repair and testing may help to demonstrate what has been done and how the system is being left safe. They could also be useful as a benchmark for subsequent safety checks. Ideally access to exact settings (eg force limitation) should be kept secure from interference, and the user / occupier being made aware of the significance of these settings for safety. Users / owners should be made aware of the need for periodic checks to ensure safety (although there is no requirement for checks or maintenance of domestic private gates under health and safety law, they are recommended for safety).
Significant modifications to an existing powered gate may result in the gate having to be re assessed under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 as the powered gate may, in effect , be a ‘new’ machine. The same may also apply where complete gates or gate kits are modified on installation, or installed, in ways not intended by the gate/kit manufacturer. In these cases the person making the changes will be deemed to be the manufacturer (‘Responsible Person’). However, simple servicing and straightforward parts replacement will not such re-ssessment.
New powered gates, which include manual gates converted to powered ones, are machinery subject to the strict product safety requirements of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations when placed on the market, or first put into service.
Architects and buyers need to specify and select suitable products. While powered gates may start as an off-the-shelf product, many become unique machines when they are installed. This is because they often have to be adapted to fit, and adjusted to cope with, the local environment (eg the effects of the wind and terrain). Therefore discussions with the manufacturer, supplier and installer, and a preliminary assessment for safety, may be required before commissioning, as well as a final assessment before first use.
Where multiple persons are involved it is important all understand and agree in advance the various roles of the different parties to ensure all legal duties are met in relation to powered gate legislation. These include who will be the ‘Responsible Person’ supplying the final product and so responsible for undertaking conformity assessment, providing the Declaration of Conformity, User Instructions and appropriate conformity marking and labelling.
Relevant legal documents:
- The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 (SMR08), which implement Directive 2006/42/EC on Machinery (Note: these replaced the previous 1992 UK regulations, which implemented earlier versions of the Machinery Directive, and have required the same standards of health and safety for all new machinery since January 1995).
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, especially Regulations 5 (maintain workplace equipment and systems) and 18 (on safety of doors, etc)
- The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, especially Section 3 the duty towards the safety on non-employed persons (eg the public and visitors) arising out of the way an undertaking is conducted (also applies to landlords and managing agents).