Safety Standards for Powered Gates, Doors, Grilles, and Barriers: Enhancing Safety and Compliance
The safety of powered gates, doors, grilles, and barriers is of paramount importance in ensuring the well-being of individuals in various settings. Recently, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued a safety alert regarding the revision of standards for these products. This alert emphasizes the publication of two new European Standards, BS EN 12453:2017 and BS EN 12604:2017, which supersede older standards from 2000 and 2001. The revised standards aim to enhance safety measures and promote compliance with the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) outlined in the European Machinery Directive.
Understanding the Key Issues:
While the new standards signify a significant improvement in the industry, it is essential to recognize that they may not comprehensively address all the risks associated with powered gates, doors, and barriers. To ensure maximum safety, additional considerations should be given to the following aspects:
1. Conducting a Comprehensive Risk Assessment: Given the unique characteristics of each installation environment and user type, it is imperative to perform a thorough risk assessment. This assessment should take into account the specific conditions, potential hazards, and foreseeable misuse related to the powered gates, doors, or barriers. By identifying these risks, appropriate safety measures can be implemented to mitigate them effectively.
2. Selection and Implementation of Design Measures: To guarantee safety, it is crucial to select and implement suitable design measures that minimize potential risks. These measures may include the installation of protective barriers, safety edges, presence detection systems, and other relevant safety devices. Special consideration should be given to vulnerable populations, such as children or individuals with reduced mobility, to ensure their safety in the vicinity of these installations.
3. Emphasizing Force Limitation: Efficient force limitation is a critical factor in maintaining the safety of powered doors, gates, and barriers. While the new standards provide specific maximum limits for impact and crushing forces, it is advisable to keep these forces as low as possible to minimize the risk of injury. Regular testing and verification of force limitations should be conducted post-installation to ensure compliance and safety.
4. Monitoring Safety Function:
Whenever feasible, incorporating safety function monitoring systems is highly recommended. These systems check the proper functioning of safety features before each movement. This aspect becomes particularly crucial when vulnerable populations are at risk, as any failure in the safety functions could result in severe or even fatal injuries. Regular inspections and maintenance should be performed to ensure the reliability of these systems.
5. Detecting Suspension Failures:
Efficient measures should be in place to detect any means of failure in the suspension system of vertically moving doors. Timely detection can prevent catastrophic failures and allow prompt action to address the issue. It is essential to implement mechanisms that prevent unintended movements beyond a certain threshold and to halt further use if suspension failures are detected.
Ensuring Compliance and Safety:
It is important to note that the revised standards are not harmonized. Therefore, manufacturers and installers must demonstrate compliance with the safety objectives of the legislation through a detailed technical file for each product. This includes conducting a thorough risk assessment, implementing appropriate safety measures, and providing comprehensive user and maintenance instructions. Compliance with the standards alone may not be sufficient to meet the requirements of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 (SMR08).
To promote a safer environment, it is imperative for architects/specifiers, designers, manufacturers, suppliers, installers, and maintenance personnel involved with powered doors, gates, and barriers to familiarize themselves with the revised standards and the HSE safety alert. Furthermore, it is crucial to consider the available information and consult previous safety bulletins published by HSE. By doing so, compliance with relevant legal requirements, including SMR08 and the Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations 1992, can be effectively achieved. These regulations emphasize the responsibility of ensuring the safety of non-employed persons, such as the public and visitors, in relation to powered doors, gates, and barriers.
To Maintain Safety and Compliance, the Following Steps are Recommended:
1. Compliance with SMR08:
Manufacturers and installers have a legal obligation under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 to ensure the safety of powered doors, gates, and barriers. This includes conducting thorough risk assessments, designing and constructing products to meet safety objectives, and providing comprehensive user instructions. Compliance with SMR08 should be a priority to prevent accidents and ensure the well-being of users.
2. Thorough Risk Assessment:
Each installation should undergo a comprehensive risk assessment that takes into account the unique environment, user characteristics, and potential hazards. The risk assessment should identify any vulnerable populations, foresee potential misuse scenarios, and consider all potential risks associated with the equipment. By conducting a thorough risk assessment, appropriate safety measures can be implemented to address and mitigate identified risks effectively.
3. Implementation of Safety Measures:
Based on the risk assessment findings, appropriate design and protective measures should be implemented during the construction and installation of powered doors, gates, and barriers. These measures may include the use of safety edges, guarding systems, presence detection technology, and other safety devices. By integrating such measures, the potential for accidents and injuries can be significantly reduced.
4. Regular Testing and Maintenance:
To ensure ongoing safety and compliance, powered doors, gates, and barriers should undergo regular testing and maintenance. This includes verifying force limitation levels, inspecting safety functions, and detecting any signs of suspension system failure. Routine maintenance procedures should be established to address any identified issues promptly and effectively.
5. Upgrading Existing Installations:
While the revised standards are not retroactively applicable, it is crucial to consider the safety of existing powered doors, gates, and barriers. Many older installations may not meet the previous safety standards or the requirements for safety when originally supplied. As such, they should be re-evaluated and, if necessary, upgraded to align with current safety standards. This proactive approach ensures that even older installations are made safer for continued use.
The safety standards for powered doors, gates, and barriers represent a significant step toward enhancing safety in various environments. However, it is essential to recognize that compliance with the revised standards alone may not fully meet the requirements of relevant regulations. A comprehensive risk assessment, implementation of appropriate safety measures, and regular testing and maintenance are crucial for ensuring the safety of users and compliance with legal obligations. By prioritizing safety and adopting proactive measures, architects, designers, manufacturers, installers, and maintenance personnel can contribute to creating a safer environment for all individuals interacting with powered doors, gates, and barriers.