Thursday, 19 November 2015

Powered gate safety under the spotlight following court hearing

Safety campaigners are calling for checks to be carried out on powered gates to ensure they are safe. This follows a court hearing on Tuesday (November 17) 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 company director Kriston Kearns, 43, who was cleared of manslaughter. The company will be sentenced on December 1.

Now the Door & Hardware Federation says the court case is a stark warning that powered gates are machines and - like all machinery - they can cause serious injury and death if they have not been manufactured, installed and maintained to the required standards.

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 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.

Michael Skelding, DHF general manager and secretary, said:
"This court case demonstrates that the consequences of supplying automated gates that are unsafe can be severe. Installers and manufacturers need to take this lesson to heart and ensure that they understand and conform with the standards and legislation applicable to these machines.
“Existing gates may well present dangers and we urge owners to have them inspected and maintained regularly. Owners and managers of powered gates, and also contractors called out to carry out service or repair work on gates, all have responsibility to ensure the gates are 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 safe to use.

"As an industry we are 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, and petitioning Government to tighten up the law regarding gate safety. We are determined to confine powered gate accidents to the history books."

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

Michael Skelding continued: 
"We emphasise that a correctly installed and properly maintained powered gate is perfectly safe to use. We therefore strongly 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 and can carry out remedial action.”

For comprehensive guidance on powered gate safety visit

To find out how to report a potentially unsafe gate and how to arrange a safety check visit  

Or contact the DHF by email at or call 01827 52337.

Read the full news report on the Manchester Evening News or BBC websites.

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