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In the summer of 2010, two young children died within days of each other after being crushed by sliding electric gates in separate incidents.
A nine-year-old boy had also been crushed to death by an electric swing gate four years earlier.
Two other children narrowly avoided serious injury following unrelated accidents in July and September 2010.
Yet the number of near misses could be much higher. Because the government stopped collecting injury causation data in 2002, RoSPA is only aware of those incidents which are reported by the media.
The two most recent deaths sparked a strong response in the national press and prompted experts in the field to take a closer look at the safety protocols and product standards that guide the design, manufacture, installation, use and maintenance of automated and semi-automated gates.
Subsequently, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued new safety advice to the industry in September 2010. The advice can be viewed by clicking on the following link: www.hse.gov.uk/press/2010/hse-electricgates.htm
Contained in the notification was this comment from the HSE's director of field operations, David Ashton:
"Electric or automatic gates are designed to stop if someone gets in the way, and installers and those maintaining these gates have a real duty to ensure this happens.
"They must take their responsibilities seriously to make sure that anti-crushing, shearing and trapping safety protection devices are correctly set and maintained."
To find out more about the Gate Safe campaign click on the following link: www.gate-safe.org
An industry-led conference on gate safety was held in Solihull in June, 2012. Speakers included representatives from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Door and Hardware Federation (DHF) and Gate Safe. The conference aimed to update manufacturers, fitters and suppliers of electric gates about the current status of the Gate Safe campaign.
A summit involving RoSPA, manufacturers, insurers and other interested parties met at The RIBA, London.
The event provided a comprehensive outline of the requirements to achieve a safe and legally compliant automated gate installation. The panel comprised representatives from Gate Safe, the Health and Safety Executive, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the Door and Hardware Federation and Thomson, Snell and Passmore (a legal firm).
Attendees were keen to progress the Gate Safe aims and highlighted issues such as the need to educate all parties and industries involved in the specification, design, installation and insurance of sites with electric gates.
A summit involving RoSPA, manufacturers, insurers and other interested parties met at the Institute of Directors, in London.
The meeting, which was organised by Jackson’s Fencing, was also attended by Tony Walker, the cousin of six-year-old Semelia Campbell, who was killed, in June 2010, in the car park of the development where her family lived.
The forum resulted in several organisations, including RoSPA, agreeing to join a technical working party, which aims to analyse the current standards pertaining to electric gates and the ways in which those standards could be improved and/or better enforced, if necessary.
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