Gate Safety FAQ

Frequently asked Questions

Is it a requirement under LAW to comply with the Machinery Directive?

Yes. If you are installing a gate product that you have manufactured yourself it must comply with the relevant Machinery Directive requirements. When installing gates supplied from OEM manufacturers check that the gate is supplied with the appropriate declaration of conformity, CE mark and technical documentation required to full-fill the machinery directive requirements.

Must I carry out a Risk Assessment?

Yes. You are required to carry out a risk assessment to show that you have either:
  1. Identified the risks associated with the particular gate being installed and have demonstrated where and how you have applied appropriate protection under the relevant requirements of the harmonised product standard (BS-EN13241-1)
  2. You are relying on the risk assessment as your proof of compliance when servicing, maintaining or repairing an existing gate. This would also apply to installing a new gate when not following the harmonised product standard. In this case the risk assessment must demonstrate how you have full-filled safety requirements to the same levels as required in BS-EN13241-1.

What can I do about unprotected risks or residual risks identified in my risk assessment that cannot be protected due to gate construction or design?

Residual risks MUST be pointed out in the assessment and if they cannot be protected using “state of the art” techniques must be pointed out to the customer as part of the handover procedure and safe use or operation procedure for the gate. This could include applying sign's warning of the danger on the affected area of the gate.

What is CE marking?

CE marking is a declaration by a manufacturer that the product bearing the mark complies with relevant European directives. There are currently twenty-three directives providing for CE marking, ranging from medical devices to toys.
Yes. In the case of most of the above directives it is an offence to place a relevant product on the market without a CE mark. For example, powered gates are covered by the Machinery Directive and the CE mark must be applied when they are manufactured or put into service.

Who is responsible for CE marking of machinery?

The manufacturer or, if he cannot be identified, the person responsible for putting the machinery into service. In the case of powered gates, HSE has identified the responsible person as being the installer. This is because the gate as it leaves the factory is generally not regarded as being a complete machine since it cannot function until it has been installed and adjusted for site conditions.

Where should the CE mark appear?

The machinery directive requires the marking to be indelibly applied to the machine in a visible position.

Are any other directives relevant?

One CE mark will apply to all relevant directives. In the case of gates, the other relevant directives are the Low Voltage Directive, the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive and the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive. Compliance with these directives will have been declared by the manufacturers of the drive and control systems and will not normally be assessed by the installer.

What is a Declaration of Conformity?

This is a document issued by the manufacturer (or installer, in the case of gates) declaring that the machinery complies with the machinery directive (and other applicable directives). It should be issued to the purchaser of a new machine. The machine to which it applies must be CE marked.

What is a Declaration of Incorporation?

This applies to partly completed machinery (including drive systems) which are not CE-marked under the machinery directive and declares that the equipment will comply with the machinery directive if incorporated into the final machine in the manner foreseen by the manufacturer. The declaration should be retained in the installer’s technical file, assuming that installer will be responsible for completing the machine and issuing the final declaration of conformity.

Who else is responsible for safety of a powered gate?

Except in a private dwelling where no staff are employed, the person in control of the premises has responsibilities under health and safety legislation. The relevant legislation includes the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. These responsibilities include ensuring that the gate is fitted with any necessary safety devices, maintaining it in efficient working order and keeping a suitable record of maintenance. Note that ‘efficient’ in this context means from the point of view of health and safety (not convenience or economy).

If an existing gate does not comply with current safety standards, who is responsible?

The gate as supplied at time of installation should have complied with the relevant safety requirements that were applicable. However developments in “state of the art” technology and health & safety legislation may have altered or increased over time. This would mean that, while the original installer may be obliged to make good any deficiencies in the specification of the gate as originally supplied compared with the requirements in force at that time, extra work to upgrade the gate to today’s standards or to repair worn or damaged parts would still be chargeable to the customer.

What does “State of the art” technology mean?

“State of the art” is defined as the highest level of development, as of a device, technique, or scientific field, achieved at a particular time. When assessing the obligation to make good any deficiencies in the original gate installation this should be considered. Current protection techniques or “state of the art” technology may not have been readily available or existed at the time of the original installation and therefore may not have been applied.

If the user of an unsafe gate refuses to have it upgraded, what should the installer do?

Do give the user a letter describing the problem and advising him/her to have it rectified;
Do give the user an estimate to carry out the work;
Don’t remove any components or damage the gate in any way;
Do leave the gate switched off (provided that this can be done without exposing a live conductor, removing a component or doing any damage).
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