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GATE DESIGN CONTRIBUTED TO CHILD DEATH

Safety Notice for designers after boy crushed by powered gates

Faulkner Gates Limited, of Romsey, Hampshire, has today been ordered to pay £120k in fines and prosecution costs after a young boy was crushed to death by electrically powered gates. 

HSE has now issued a Safety Notice indicating the action required by designers etc.

Gap between leading edge and pillar

Nine-year-old Jason Keet died on 13 April 2006 when his head was crushed by the gates at the entrance to a private block of flats in Balcombe Road, Poole, Dorset.

The young Bournemouth boy arrived to visit his grandparents with his mother when he tried to open the electric gates at the entrance to the block of flats.

He got out of the car, put his arm and upper body around the gate pillar and pressed the button on the inside, meant for use by people leaving the block of flats on foot.

The gates were built in such a way that there was a gap large enough for him to get between the edge of one of the gates and a brick pillar. Because Jason had reached through to press the button, his head and upper body were in this gap when the gates started to move, the opening narrowed, and his head was crushed between the gate and the brick pillar.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard the organisation played its part in designing and building these gates but failed to properly control the risks that were being created.

Designers must coperate and communicate effectively

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Stephen Hanson-Hall, said:

“Jason was on his way to see his grandparents, and was simply trying to help his mum by opening the gates. There is no way he could have been expected to understand the risks created by the design of these gates.

“Had the company undertaken a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, and communicated its findings with the other companies involved in the design and installation of the gates, it is unlikely this tragedy would have happened. Where several organisations are involved in design and construction projects, they must cooperate and communicate effectively with one another to control risks to the public.

“This is a tragedy that should never have happened. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of taking into account safety risks, to prevent another family going through the ordeal of losing a loved one – especially one so young, who should have had the whole of his life to look forward to.”

HSE Safety Notice recommends actions

The actions required are outlined fully in the Safety Notice.

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