Gate Safety Legislation Explained

Introduction to Gate Safety Legislation

In June 2010 the tragic deaths of 2 young children in separate incidents less than 1 week apart only served to highlight the safety issues facing the UK gate automation industry. All automatic gate systems by LAW must be installed in compliance with the Machinery Directive MD2006/42/EC and supporting standards as highlighted by recent safety advisories from the Health & Safety Executive.

The HSE will be primarily responsible for any investigations carried out on gates where incidents have occurred and can prosecute installers or manufacturers accordingly. All Manufacturers and installers of automatic gate systems should take all necessary steps to meet compliance with the Machinery Directive to ensure their completed products are safe.

To aid manufacturers & installers in meeting the requirements for directive compliance, a harmonised product standard for gates was produced in 2003. The standard BS-EN13241-1:2003 provides an umbrella platform for creating a compliant gate product. The umbrella platform refers to supporting standards which contain information and requirements for various aspects of the gates performance & design. This guide is designed to provide installers with a summary of the key requirements of each supporting standard referred to by the product standard, and show how to apply appropriate solutions to meet each requirement.

Index of Standards

BS-EN13241-1 makes use of the following standards:
(Click a standard to get more information)

  • BS-EN12453:2001 - Industrial, commercial and garage doors and gates. Safety in use of power operated doors. Requirements.
  • BS-EN12445:2001 - Industrial, commercial and garage doors and gates. Safety in use of power operated doors. Test methods.
  • BS-EN12978:2003 - Industrial, commercial and garage doors and gates. Safety devices for power operated doors and gates. Requirements and test methods
  • BS-EN1760-2:2001 - Safety of machinery. Pressure sensitive protective devices. General principles for the design and testing of pressure sensitive edges and pressure sensitive bars
  • BS-EN12604:2000 - Industrial, commercial and garage doors and gates. Mechanical aspects. Requirements
  • BS-EN12605:2000 - Industrial, commercial and garage doors and gates. Mechanical aspects. Test methods

EN12453 – Key Requirements

Defines areas of crushing, shearing & draw in on gates (see diagrams).

  • Stipulates a maximum of 400N of crushing force allowed before gate must start to reverse in these areas (see diagrams). Areas outside of this are allowed up to 1400N.
  • States the force exerted on contact must begin to reduce within 0.75 of a second to below 150N
  • Requirement to reduce force & back off applies to both opening & closing operations of the gate system
  • Defines that a danger area is considered to exist when a gap between the gate and a stationary object reduces to 500mm or below.
  • Lists accepted technologies for providing this protection as torque limitation in drive units, laser light curtain devices & PSPE equipment (safety edges).
Crushing, shearing & draw area examples on a sliding gate.
Examples of crushing, shearing & draw areas on a sliding gate. Click to enlarge
Crushing, shearing & draw area examples on a swing gate.
Examples of crushing, shearing & draw areas on a swing gate. Click to enlarge
Correct and incorrect gaps
Gate Danger Areas. Click to enlarge
  • Requires selected force limitation technology to protect danger areas of gate fully up to a height of 2.5 meters on both sliding and swing gates (see left)
  • Requires that the gate must be equipped with an emergency release system (e.g. release key). Users must be trained in how to operate the system.

EN12445 – Key Requirements

  • Defines force testing requirement points on sliding and swing gates as the areas illustrated in the diagrams below, please note that the area designated for testing on swing gates when opening only exists when a gate opens within 500mm of a wall, fence or other object in the gates travel.
Test points on a sliding gate
Test points on a sliding gate
Click to enlarge
Test points on a sliding gate
Test points on a sliding gate
Click to enlarge
Test points on a swinging gate
Test points on a swinging gate
Click to enlarge
Test points on a swinging gate
Test points on a swinging gate
Click to enlarge
  • Test points are horizontally 500mm, 300mm, 50mm from stop post (See above diagram).
  • Vertically 300mmm from top of gate, 50mm from bottom & halfway between these points
  • Each test point is measured 3 times
  • The average value is then calculated from these results and submitted as a PASS or FAIL
  • An EN12445 compliant force testing device must be used
  • As part of any ongoing maintenance contracts, a gate should be force tested annually, or when any changes to the safety devices are made (e.g. altering torque settings in control panel or replacing a drive unit).

EN12978 – Key Requirements

  • Defines required safety category for the electronic transmission system used to connect the safety devices to the automation control board.
  • Stipulates the transmission system must employ monitoring against faults in the attached safety devices and use force guided relays to signify a fault.
  • Stipulates that the system must be fail safe and ideally CATEGORY 3.
CAT2 Edges
CAT2 Safety Edges
CAT2 Feature CAT3
Yes Edge Monitoring Yes
No Full Self Monitoring Yes
No Backup Relays Yes
No Backup Micro-Processor Yes
No Fully Failsafe Yes
CAT3 Edges
CAT3 Safety Edges
  • Minimum device safety level is CATEGORY 2 utilising an external test signal
  • A Category 2 transmission system employs a single force guided relay and circuit which is used to monitor the input from the attached safety device. In the event of a failure of the attached safety device the transmission systems relay will open signalling the gate control board. However a Category 2 transmission system does not have in-built monitoring of its own circuit or relay providing no resilience to a point of failure. Due to this design a Category 2 transmission system MUST be externally tested by the gate control board before each gate movement to meet safety requirements.

EN1760-2 – Key Requirements (if using safety edges)

  • Defines level of sensitivity, performance characteristics, response time and percentage of sensitive surface area of safety edges used
  • Tests on the edge are carried out by a notified body
  • Helps the installer select the appropriate size of profile for his gate, ensuring enough over travel distance to meet force tests
  • Certificates for the safety edge devices used must be made available upon request

EN12604, EN12605 & BS6180– Key Requirements

  • Defines mechanical aspects and assembly of the physical gate itself, including hinge assemblies and construction stability
  • Design should eliminate gaps over 100mm in the following areas:
  • Hinge posts being the gap measured between the gate post and gate frame, this should not reduce down when the gate operates
  • Centre meeting points (swing gates)
  • Gaps underneath sliding gates that vary
  • Gaps above and below swing gates must also comply with the 100mm rule. To protect gaps that exceed this measurement the use of torque limitation, pressure sensitive edges or other "state of the art" techniques may be used. (FAQ What does "State of the art" technology mean?)
COrrect Gaps
Correct Gaps
Click to enlarge
incorrect Gaps
Incorrect Gaps
Click to enlarge

Timeline of Legislation and Standards

Year Legislation / Standard Description Dates
1992 Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 [EU Machinery Directive] Required machinery to be safe and to carry the CE marking. Compliance was demonstrated principally by risk assessment since no harmonised standards existed at the time. CE marking was required from 1st January 1995
2001 EN 12453:2000 Intended as a supporting standard to EN 13241-1, this nevertheless established the state of the art regarding safety of powered doors and gates. Available to support risk assessments. Published as a British Standard in January 2001
2003 EN 13241-1:2003 Harmonised product standard under both the Machinery Directive and the Construction Products Directive. Powered door safety requirements based on EN 12453. Compliance with EN 13241-1 gives a presumption of conformity with the directives. Available for CE marking from 1 May 2004
2008 Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 [EU Machinery Directive revision] Revision of 1992 regulations; compliance process largely unchanged. Replaced 1992 regulations from December 2009
2010 HSE Safety Notice FOD WSW 1-2010 Guidance establishes a new “state of the art” for safety of powered gates. The guidance is not itself law, but is rather a new interpretation of the existing law, so could be challenged in court. However, this interpretation should be considered authoritative until modified or replaced. Published 26th February 2010
2010 HSE Safety Notice FOD 7-2010 Updates and reinforces previous notice. Published 2nd September 2010
2011 HSE Safety Notice OPSTD 1-2011 Release aimed at Landlords, Commercial owners or facilities managers of property’s with Powered Perimeter Gates. Sets out to inform of the duty of care responsibilities of the afore mentioned to ensure gates are maintained correctly or bought in-line Published 21st January 2011
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