Powered gate safety under the spotlight in wake of Manchester Crown Court hearing on girl’s death

Michael Skelding of the DHF

Michael Skelding of the DHF

Safety campaigners are now calling for checks to be carried out on powered gates to ensure they’re absolutely safe. This move follows on from a court hearing held on Tuesday 17 November when a gate company admitted killing a six year-old girl who was crushed to death by electric automated gates.

Cheshire Gates and Automation Ltd admitted corporate manslaughter over the death of Semelia Campbell who had become trapped between the powered gate and a wall outside her home in Manchester.

No evidence was offered at Manchester Crown Court over 43 year-old company director Kriston Kearns, who was cleared of manslaughter. The company will now be sentenced on Tuesday 1 December.

The Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) believes this court case is a “stark warning” that powered gates are machines and, like all machinery, can cause serious injury and death if they’ve not been manufactured, installed and maintained to the required standards.

Michael Skelding, general manager and secretary at the DHF, told Risk UK: “This court case demonstrates that the consequences of supplying unsafe automated gates can be extremely severe. Installers and manufacturers need to take this lesson to heart and ensure that they fully understand and conform to the standards and legislation applicable to these machines.”

Skelding added: “Existing gates may well present dangers, and we would urge owners to have them inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Owners and managers of powered gates, and also those contractors called upon to carry out service or repair work on such gates, all have a responsibility to ensure that installations are safe.”

Only 30% of automated gates believed to be safe

In the past ten years there have been seven deaths in the UK and Ireland, at least nine serious injuries and “countless” near misses caused by dangerous powered gates.

Shockingly, it’s estimated that only 30% of the 500,000 automated gates in service in the UK are actually safe to use.

Skelding said: “As an industry, we’re working tirelessly to raise powered gate safety standards by carrying out comprehensive compulsory training for gate fitters, actively promoting the gate safety message to owners and those responsible for gate maintenance. We’re also petitioning the Government to tighten up the laws regarding gate safety. We’re absolutely determined to confine powered gate accidents to the history books.”

Just last month, the DHF held its second Gate Safety Week: a successful campaign designed to focus public attentions on the dangers posed by non-compliant powered gates.

“We emphasise that a correctly installed and properly maintained powered gate is perfectly safe to use,” stated Skelding. “We urge gate owners and all those responsible for the safety of powered gates to have their gates checked by a specialist who will identify any risks to safety posed by the gate. Remedial action may then be carried out.”

The DHF’s Powered Gate Group represents Britain’s leading manufacturers, suppliers, installers and maintainers of powered automatic gates and gate automation equipment.

The DHF promotes Best Practice in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of powered gates and offers advice to its members on how to ensure all products and services they supply comply with safety legislation.

All of the key players in the following sectors are represented by the DHF: powered gates, industrial/commercial doors, garage doors, metal and timber door sets and locks and architectural hardware.

With the ultimate aim of maintaining and raising quality standards throughout the industry, all DHF members must meet minimum standards of competence and customer service.



About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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