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    Gate at school entrance did not meet ‘essential safety requirements’

    Camera Security Services Ltd has been prosecuted after failing to install adequate safety devices on an electric gate that trapped a young child at a Bournemouth primary school in January 2010.

    The three year old boy was playing around the gate when it closed trapping him between the gate and the gate post. Parents and passers-by were able to push the gate open just enough to prevent it from closing completely. The child had to be physically pulled free, but escaped serious injury.

    Swindon Magistrates heard (30th September) how the company fitted an electronic closing device to the metal vehicle gates. However, appropriate sensor safety devices were not fitted which would have automatically stopped the gates from closing completely when a body was detected.

    HSE investigators found the gate automation equipment installed by the company did not meet essential safety requirements and the company assessment failed to identify the foreseeable risks associated with the crushing point between the gate and gate post. The location of the gate, at the entrance to a primary school, increased the level of risk.

    Automating a gate creates potentially dangerous ‘machine’ 

    Camera Security Services Ltd., of Glenmore Business Centre, Waller Road, Devizes, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £7,000 in costs.

    After the hearing, HSE Inspector Stephan Axt-Simmonds said:

    “Camera Security Services Ltd failed to ensure that the equipment they supplied and installed in 2008 was able to operate safely. They had a clear legal requirement in this regard and should also have been mindful that this particular location, the entrance to a primary school, would be used by a particularly vulnerable group: young children.

    This was an easily preventable incident that could have had tragic consequences. Suppliers and installers of gate automation equipment must remember that, by automating a gate, they are creating a machine and they must carry out the proper procedures to ensure the equipment they install does not pose a danger to the public.

    In bringing this prosecution, HSE has taken into account that the director of Camera Security Services Ltd passed away in 2012 and the company is now run by a completely different team of people. Nevertheless, the company is still legally responsible for the supply and installation of this machinery.

    I would encourage all suppliers and installers of electric gates to take a look at the free guidance available on the Door and Hardware Federation website which has been endorsed by HSE.”

    Relevant HSE Safety Bulletins
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