Servicing, Maintenance & Repair of Existing Gates
The current machinery directive 2006/42/ EC came in to force on 29/12/2009, however there were no significant changes from the previous directive version in relation to safety requirements. In addition to the directive both the Health & Safety at work act 1974 and Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 can be used in relation to any gate incidents, and has been used to prosecute in one case already by the HSE.
Manufacturers and installers of automatic gate systems who provide maintenance for gates installed, must take steps to address safety on all sites. Companies should consider making contact with their existing customers to update them on legislation & current machinery directive safety standards and to offer a risk assessment service procedure to ensure the gate is safe and fit for purpose, including any safety upgrade recommendations. If the person/s or company responsible for the gate declines to have any safety upgrades applied the installer must make record that the upgrades were refused.
The risk assessment is an essential requirement to comply with health and safety laws and is used by the installer to demonstrate that a gate is safe to be worked on and used. If an installation is found to be dangerous to the public or employees on a commercial or industrial site, the installer should notify the client that the gate should with immediate effect be taken out of service. The gate should not be used again until the gate is signed off as meeting the H&E requirements and compliance with a declaration of conformity.
If a residential gate installation is found to be dangerous to the residents, general public etc, due to its design, location or condition, then the installer should again notify the client that the gate should be taken out of service with immediate effect. It is possible that if the client left the dangerous gate in operation, then this could fall under a civil law claim resulting from any accident occurring on the gate.
In both of these circumstances it is advisable for the installer to switch off the device/s provided it is done without disconnecting a cable and leaving the cable exposed. The installer should follow the procedure of issuing a notice of un‐safe operation whilst informing the necessary parties in writing not to carry out further work on that gate until it has been made safe in accordance with current safety requirements/ legislation’s.