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  • Writer's pictureCM Gates & Barriers

Gate Safety – 5 Ways to Improve the Safety of your Gate System

We often hear people talk about gate safety devices and ground loops in the same breath. However, it is important to clarify what is meant when considering safety devices.

There are a number of different gate safety devices on the market and it can be a daunting task trying to understand their various roles and how they improve the overall safety of your automatic gate system. We have listed the top five ways to improve safety measures on your electric gate openers.

a diagram of a photocell for automatic gates
Photocell Sensor

1. Photocells

You will find a pair of photocells are supplied with all electric gate kits. They are small boxes with an infra-red beam that are mounted facing each other on either side of your gate. If this beam is broken or interrupted, it sends a signal to the control panel that there is an obstruction which prevents the gates from operating. This simple fail safe will prevent gates from opening in to vehicles, pets, and children that are too close to the gates when in operation. Sometimes it may be necessary to add an additional pair of photocells on the outside of your gates. As your installer, we will always advice you if this is needed during your initial risk assessment.

2. Gates Safety Edges

Otherwise known as rubber contact strips, safety edges need to be installed on any edge of a gate which may cause trapping, shearing, or crushing points.The safety edges operate by being pressure sensitive. If they come in to contact with any obstacle they will crush, it triggers the gates to stop and reverse away from danger. Learn more about safety edges and how they improve your overall gate safety.

3. Flashing Lights

The best way to stop anyone from being in the way of an electric gate whilst it is operating is to inform them that it is about to operate.

A flashing light is a very good solution to this, especially for the hard of hearing or for particularly noisy industrial sites as it can provide a visual alert.

4. 24V Electric Gate Kits

As opposed to the 230V electric gate kits, 24V electric gate kits have built in function for obstacle detection. This system shouldn’t be relied on as a standalone safety mechanism but instead seen as another layer of protection. If the control panel senses increased resistance against the gates, they will trigger the stop and reverse cycle.

This is why 24V systems are not suitable for closed boarded gates because in windy conditions, they will detect more force and not function.

5. Force Testing

This is a process which involves a specific piece of equipment called a force tester. Certain points of a gate system are tested to see how many newtons of force are required before the safety devices are triggered. Depending on the rate of force and the area of the gate will determine whether the gates pass or fail, thus complying with the EN12453 requirements. All gate installers should carry out force testing as standard.

Learn more about force testing and how these tests are carried out.

More about Gate Safety

Safety devices can be categorised as primary safety devices that protect people and secondary safety devices that protect vehicles and the gate.

As a Gate Safe Aware installer we do our utmost best to ensure we are following all guidelines and safety regulations in an effort to bring an end to unsafe automatic gate systems. Gate Safe fundamentally believes that the protection of people i.e. primary safety devices should always be the top priority when considering a gate installation.

The following points should always be considered:

  • Can the gate be designed in such a way as to eliminate any risks for example, three hinges on a swing gate, hanging on the corner of the gate post to eliminate the risk of crushing around the hinge and the post, ensuring the infill of the gate does not cause any trapping risks etc. There are many more considerations that are gate and site dependent.

  • Look at non-contact safety devices, photocells, light curtains or laser scanners. Gate Safe’s view is that any contact between a person and the gate should be avoided at all costs.

  • In terms of pedestrian safety, pressure edges should also be fitted to the gate to act as an additional layer of protection to the non-contact devices.

  • Secondary safety devices such as ground loops can also be fitted to protect vehicles and the gate or to trigger a close signal, but be aware,these should never be considered as a means of protecting people.

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