Notices / Machinery Directive
Does my gate system meet all the requirements of the Machinery Directive?
Probably not and if the system was installed before the equipment manufacturers made current compliant products readily available the answer will be no!
When was that?
Most product manufacturers reacted to the directive following the legal outcome of the tragic loss of a child in 2006 and two further tragic accidents in 2010 that the court cases took an age to conclude. The new products took a while to reach the market and some manufacturers’ items experienced major technical upsets until reliability and commercial acceptance could be gained.
Therefore, any system with pre 2010 controls and equipment is likely not to have the ability to comply completely with the latest Health & Safety Standard. Even so, the set up and adjustment of all these items is critical for the standard to be achieved as written and all may be subject to external influences beyond practical control (such as the weather and varying temperatures).
What does this all mean?
At this time all in-situ machines come under the ‘Machinery Directive’ by law and automatic gates, doors, barriers and bollards are just such products. It is very hard to ensure a system not only complies at the time of hand-over, but remains compliant throughout its life and under varying conditions and levels of use, together with any seen or unseen abuse.
What can we do?
System safety and continued safe use is the most important focus and this has always been the case, even before the directive became law. The issue is that of realisation of safety in the opening direction. Pre 2009 most controls and equipment did not suitably allow for personal injury protection while opening, just closing.
The directive states numerous hazards including, crushing, entrapment, shearing, drawing and system stability, as main areas of concern with protection required when designing and constructing all gate systems. Also the potential of personal injury or damage to property directly or consequentially from the installation, needs adequate protection throughout the life and use of the system.
Where do we start?
Any area of high risk of serious personal injury must be the starting point, followed down through low risk and minor injury. How safe is your system if a young child was playing on or around it?
To better ensure gate safety, have the system safety reviewed and maintained by a competent and trained company that has a good track record and delivery.
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