Friday 3 May 2019

New Chairman for the Door & Hardware Federation's Automated Gate Group.

Working in the industry since a teenager, it’s fair to say that Martin Keelagher knows a thing or two about the automated gate industry.  A fierce advocate for safety across the sector, he has been named DHF’s (Door & Hardware Federation) new Chairman of the Automated Gate Group.

A family-run business founded in 1997, Martin is a Director of Security Access Systems Ltd and has certainly learned from the ground up.  Working at the company at weekends and during holidays from the tender age of 14, he has worked across all areas of the business, from project management, to costings and marketing. 

After taking a break from the business in 2006 to work in institutional finance, and later, launching his own venture capital and advisory organisation, Martin took his extensive experience back to the firm his family has spent more than 20 years building.

Since then, he has worked hard to develop and grow the organisation and has taken the lead on several aspects, along with health and safety.  This has included ensuring that the teams all attend DHF’s specialist training courses, no exception. 

His passion for safety across the sector and support for DHF’s clarion call that ‘safe gates save lives’ means that he is perfectly placed as the Automated Gate Group’s new Chairman.  His mission is to spread the message about safety and the legal implications of not adhering to the rules, for all stakeholders.

“I was aware that DHF were looking for a new Chairman for the Automated Gate Group and registered my interest,” he explains. 
“I have undertaken so many presentations on the importance of health and safety industry-wide, have attended all of DHF’s courses and continually try and educate clients on the importance of compliance and how to spot an unsafe product or indeed installation.  So, when the opportunity arose to become more involved in spreading the message for greater safety and higher standards, I jumped at the chance!”

With an extensive network of contacts, in his new position, Martin is keen to highlight the importance of education, particularly outside of DHF’s membership to the general sector including facilities managers and landlords.  A lot of installations just aren’t up to standard and we also need to communicate this to the consumer more effectively.  

“Education is absolutely key,” Martin continues.  “and through their comprehensive training courses, DHF are leading the sector on safety.  Their training is extremely powerful.  Being a member of DHF is a fantastic endorsement for a business in our sector and would-be members should aspire to as the highest standard of competency and recognition.”

In 2014, DHF launched ‘Gate Safety Week’ an initiative that is now into its sixth year.  The campaign’s objective is to raise awareness of the proper installation and maintenance of powered gates and how to prevent accidents, with a number of high-profile organisations supporting the initiative since its inception.

“Gate Safety Week has been fantastic in bringing the issues of gate safety to a wider audience and a great opportunity to talk about DHF and the continuing work of the Automated Gate Group,” says Martin. 
“There is no doubt that there have been significant changes to the sector over the past 20 years, particularly around health and safety.  As an industry, we must respond to these.  Two decades ago, the mechanics on automated gates were unforgiving and dangerous, such as the lack of necessary safety edges.  Today, safety has come on leaps and bounds, and rightly so.”

According to Martin, there is still much to do across the industry, but with DHF spreading the message that those with responsibility must be legally compliant, great strides are being made.

“It is undeniable that DHF’s efforts have led to the sector becoming fundamentally more professional and compliant and this can only be a good thing.” he says.  
Martin welcomes members to reach out to him and is happy to speak to non-members about the benefits of DHF membership.  He looks forward to working with the DHF Executive in the future.

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