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    POORLY DESIGNED SCHOOL GATE CRUSHED CHILD

    Sliding gate over-run mechanism proved insufficiently robust

    A manufacturer of bespoke gates has been prosecuted after an eight-year-old girl was crushed by a steel gate at a London school in May 2018.

    Westminster Magistrates heard that the child was leaving an evening gymnastics club at the school when the sliding gate fell on her. She suffered multiple fractures to her pelvis as well as internal injuries.

    The manual sliding gate, (some 5m long and 1.7 high) was designed, manufactured and installed by the defendant February 2018 after a paper delivery lorry damaged a previous, two-leaf swing gate.

    Gate became disengaged from holding rollers

    HSE investigators found that the mechanism in place to prevent the sliding gate from overrunning and falling over as it was opened (a small stop welded to its guiding rail) was insufficient if the gate was opened robustly.

    When the gate was opened at the time of the incident, it became disengaged from the rollers holding it up, when its momentum caused it to ‘ride over’ the stop. The company made changes to the gate stop mechanism on the morning after the incident and a HSE specialist verified its safety.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Whittle said:

    “The failure to fit suitable end-stops meant that the gate was an accident waiting to happen and could have fallen on anyone at any time with life threatening consequences.”

     

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