When hanging big heavy driveway gates, gate safety should always be considered. We would recommend that manual gates are installed by an experience installer and automated gates by a qualified installer.
British Standard BS EN 12604 states a gate should not be capable of falling through single point failure, one hinge breaking would be a single point failure that causes a catastrophic failure of the gate to use the technical term taken from the standard.
Therefore it is recommend a third hinge should be used (as an alternatively, a tether could be used to prevent a gate from falling)
There are various features which can be incorporated into a manual gate to deliver additional safety to the installation.
Ideally, a gate should be supported by not two but three hinges, as per a normal internal door. This will prevent a catastrophic failure if one part fails. Tethers can be fitted to existing gates to protect against this risk.
To prevent a gate being lifted from its hinges it was common practice to invert the top hinge of gates, but the entire weight of the gate is supported by the bottom hinge and increases the loading to one point of the gate. Should the bottom hinge fail, the gate will fall and could cause injury, Gate Safe does not advise inverting hinges for this reason, but you can use shear nut fixings or tamper proof hinges instead.Anti-trap design
Gates which feature pales should benefit from an anti-trap design to mitigate against the risk of a child becoming stuck between the pales. This is especially important in a school environment. Vertical pales should have gaps of no more than 100mm and not represent a trap point at the top of the gate. Additionally security toppings should only be fitted where people cannot accidentally come into contact with them.
Travel stops/slam posts/end stops
It is important that any manual gate is incapable of over travel and is also supported when open to prevent twisting of the gate. Swing gates should have a catch post or wall to open to but sliding gates must have a stop fitted when fully open and also closed to ensure it cannot fall out of the support posts and cause an injury.
The purpose of a finger guard on a gate is to deliver added safety to the device, by restricting potential access (especially by children) between the gate post and the gate itself and reducing the risk of becoming caught between the exposed hinge and the gate.
Based on hospital data, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has suggested that around 40,000 serious accidents happen each year in the UK when fingers, mainly those of children, are trapped in doors.
However, be aware, a poorly fitted finger guard may actually result in creating a trap hazard to the gate. For optimum results, the finger guard should always be protruding outwards. If the protective shield is bulging inwards, the efficacy of the guard is compromised and here is a chance that a finger / hand could still become trapped.
It is also important to remember that these should always be removed as part of any routine maintenance check to enable the condition of hinges to be thoroughly assessed. Hinges should ideally feature bearings rather than grease which can attract dust and cause operating problems resulting in excessive wear to the hinge pin. Clear plastic finger guards offer improved visibility of the condition of any hinges, however, the guard should still be removed at the time of inspection.
Manual gate maintenance
Manual installations should be supported by a regular maintenance regime. The time lapses between maintenance checks will be largely determined by the amount of usage the gate is expected to tolerate. A low usage situation would represent up to 50 operations a day; Low usage gates should be checked every at least every 12 months. If there are any changes in the gate, for example, if the gate drags on the ground, this could be a sign that urgent attention required to avoid compromising the safety of the gate.
Challenging weather conditions, such as high winds/gales and heavy rain can cause damage to a gate and/or affect the
foundations. Routine checks should always be made once the bad weather has subsided. The following should be checked:
- Review hinges and eyes for signs of excessive wear and tear e.g. damage, cracking
- Check the foundations for any signs of movement
- Look out for any indication that the material from which the gate has been crafted has in any way been compromised e.g. gates showing signs of excessive cracks
- Check that all ancillary equipment e.g., drop bolts and catches are working as expected. If any is classed as featuring in excess of 15% damage, a replacement should be considered
Automated gate maintenance
Automated gates must be installed by a fully qualified installer who must ensure it complies with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008
As the owner of an automated gate, you are technically the owner of a machine, which just like your car requires routine maintenance. The gate should be checked over by a qualified installer every six months as a minimum.
Information source Gate-safe.Org; More details can be found at https://gate-safe.org/