Don’t let your gates cost you

15 Nov 2021
BY Dave Salisbury

Are you at risk of a fine? Don’t let your gates cost you – book your free safety check today


The regular maintenance of automated gates and barriers is vitally important because it all comes down to people and the protection of their health and safety. As a contractor, Zicam has a duty of care to protect any people on site (even those trying to break in!) by ensuring that our customers’ perimeter protection is healthy and functioning as it should. If it’s not it could cause serious injury or sometimes death. In fact at the beginning of November this year, a city council in Ireland was fined €75,000 following the death of an employee. The employee was passing through an automatic gate on site when the gate closed causing him fatal injuries. The council pleaded guilty to breaching three charges under the Health and Safety legislation. Just with regular servicing, this terrible incident could have been averted.

The essential site survey

So, where do we begin when we check the workings of the machinery? When a new customer approaches us for help with their perimeter protection, the first thing we’ll do before taking them on contract is a site survey of their existing gates and barriers. If there’s any problem at all with them  the customer will need to have the work done to repair the faults so they meet industry standards and Machinery Directive requirements before coming onto contract. Once that’s done we’re happy to take over the servicing of the gates and barriers. If it’s a new install, we know that we will have left the machinery meeting DHF and Gate Safe standard – this is crucial for me because if something went wrong I as a Gate Automation Engineer could be held accountable for it and that’s not going to happen!

Look for accreditation

Unfortunately, our industry isn’t fully regulated as yet, but the great news is that DHF and Gate Safe are doing a huge amount of work to try and get it regulated so the more unscrupulous companies out there who aren’t fitting gates safely can be brought to task. Personally, I’d welcome regulation and any other company that is DHF and Gate Safe accredited (as Zicam is) would too.

I would also warn anyone away from buying an automated gate do-it-yourself gate kit from an online retailer and fitting it themselves. There are, literally, multiple moving parts to gates and barriers; they are heavy and they need to meet safety standards and without the correct knowledge or skills – that’s when accidents and even deaths occur. Always work with an accredited installer.

Zicam Security installing Perimeter protection at a commercial site

Your free gate safety check

Throughout November we are offering a free gate safety check. We conduct a site survey, full risk assessment and force test of the gate. We check the correct number of hinges are in place (this is a lifesaving aspect of the check, if there aren’t the required number of hinges the gate could fall), as well as stability and strength and speed control.

We then grade the hazards, so if there is an immediate hazard then we have to control it; a residual hazard doesn’t necessarily have to be controlled, but we can put measures in place, such as signs, to warn people that it’s there. If the gate fails, then we’ll issue an ‘unsafe gate notice’ and advise about how to get it up to standard.

It’s a really in-depth survey because we care about safety. We don’t just simply check that the gate opens and shuts as it should. The check applies to all gates as long as they’re automatic, for example bi-fold, swing, sliding, swing, telescopic, and also applies to barriers, road blockers and bollards. If you have any of these on site, then I’d urge you to take advantage of this offer.

Treat you gates like your car

A gate is a working machine just the same as your car, so it should be serviced with the same regularity. I really can’t stress enough how important it is. If you haven’t yet booked your free gates safety check with us, get in touch with a member of the team and we’ll see you on site.

Bradley Ellis, Automated Gate Engineer, Zicam Integrated Security Limited.

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