Hazards of Electrically Powered Gates


This Safety Alert is issued after a serious incident in 2015 where a person was trapped and fatally injured by an electrically powered gate.

It follows on from a previous Safety Alert issued by the HSA in 2010.

If powered gates have been installed in your workplace, they can present a very real danger of entrapment and crushing of adults or children, which could lead to serious injury or death. This danger is particularly acute if the gate can be operated remotely from a mobile phone or fob, without the operator having sight of the gate opening or closing.


  • Persons in control of workplaces where powered gates are installed must ensure
  1. that there are effective procedures in place to ensure that the gates are not operated if there is any risk of anybody being injured,
  2. that all potential crushing, shearing, drawing-in or impact areas are protected,
  3. that the gates are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and that they are maintained regularly to ensure their safety on an ongoing basis
  4. to limit the forces that can be exerted by the gate where it might contact a person and
  5. emergency procedures are in place in the event of someone being trapped or a power failure or breakdown.
  • If Gates are not hold-to-run, and especially if they can be remotely operated by fob or by mobile phone, precautions such as those shown in Fig 2 will be required.

Figure 1 Risk areas associated with powered sliding gates


Figure 2 Control Measures to protect users and members of the public


Where force limitation is used, it should cause the gate to retract when it encounters an object such as a person. Force limitation can be achieved by inherent force control or safe edges.

Inherent force control can be provided by intelligent drive units that cause the gate to reverse when an obstruction is sensed.

Safe edges are sensitive rubber switching strips which, when contact is detected, send a signal to the gate controller to reverse the movement of the gate.

Either Inherent force control or safe edges will need to be verified at safe limits by testing.

Force limitation must be backed up by the use of photo beams across the entrance both inside and outside the gate. The use of photo beams should never be the sole means for providing safety as they are too easy to defeat by standing astride or leaning over the beam.

Figure 3 Photo beams, if broken while closing, causes the gate to reverse.


In accordance with the Machinery Directive;

  • as powered gates are usually assembled from constituent parts into a machine by the installer, the installer is generally considered as the machine manufacturer and must ensure the overall installation is safe,
  • when a complete gate is placed on the market, such as a “factory manufactured” gate supplied with all ancillary parts and comprehensive installation and setting instructions, then the person placing this on the market must ensure the safety of what is being supplied as an entire unit and the installer must comply with the manufacturer’s instructions.


Note: Standards are subject to regular updates and changes so care is needed to comply with the most up-to –date standards .

September 2015