The Importance of Powered Gate Safety

A powered gate is a machine and like any machine it poses potential risks to children and adults alike.  In recent years 4 adults and 3 children have been killed by dangerous gates and there have been countless serious injuries and near misses. 

There continues to be a lack of awareness and knowledge of powered gate safety with a proliferation of poorly trained, ill equipped and un-qualified installers operating illegally, particularly in the domestic market.  There are countless dangerous gates still in service today, many of which are on domestic properties.  If somebody where to get injured by a dangerous gate the owner could well be held liable.

There are criminal laws that require that powered gates are safe; anyone installing, maintaining or repairing a gate is legally required to ensure the gate is properly safe. 

  • New gates are required to comply with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.

  • Anyone maintaining, repairing or modifying a powered gate is required by section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act to ensure any work done will result in a safe gate. 

In every case a safe gate is defined as one conforming to or exceeding the requirements of BS EN 12453:2001 which requires that;

  1. The gate has structural integrity to prevent derailment or falling over: at least half of all injuries and fatalities are caused by structural failure.

  2. The gate must be electrically safe.

  3. Contact with the moving gate must either be prevented completely or that force on contact with the gate at any point in the movement area will result in it stopping and retracting to ensure that the resulting force is reduced to safe levels.  All potential crush and impact hazards must be either eliminated or protected, hence there should be no exposed reducing gaps during movement.

The required protection against injury can be provided by;

  • Enclosing the run back area of a sliding gate.

  • Ensuring that gaps at the hinge are constant.

  • Providing safe edges or smart drive system technology to control force.

  • Using photo beams to back up the force limitation described above.

  • Testing for safe force limitation with the correct test equipment.

  • Installing all enveloping light curtain technology (expensive).

  • Testing light curtain technology with the approved test devices.

Safe Electric Gates

This gate uses a combination of careful design to eliminate hinge gap hazards and drives with built in obstacle detection.  The gate will stop and reverse on contact with obstacles, this is backed up by light beams across the opening.

A new powered gate should come with a user manual that explains:

  • How to use the gate, and how to release the gate in the event of a power cut.

  • Where any potential minor residual hazards are and how to avoid them.

  • What maintenance will be needed an how often it must be done.

It must also be supplied with a compliance certificate (Declaration of Conformity) and bear the CE marking.


Keep away from moving powered gates.

Only operate remote controls in sight of the gate.

Get them checked and maintained regularly by a trained and qualified expert.

Only use properly trained and qualified specialists to work on your gate.

The do not's of electric gate safety


Allow children to play on or near powered gates.

Park or stop needlessly within the sweep of a powered gate.

Modify or interfere with the controls.

Ignore safety advice given by properly trained and qualified specialists.

Door and Hardware Federation Powered Gate Group member companies have all been trained and qualified to install, maintain and repair powered gates.  They have agreed to work within a strict code and always operate strictly within the law. 

Contact the DHF to help find a company locally on 01827 52337 or email and look out for the DHF logo.

For more information visit:

The HSE website

The DHF website

The BFT website