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of this would be to actively prevent a
However, there would need to be a
strict protocol in place in order to
ensure that only suitably trained
personnel had the authority to override
the safety regime and that the control
could not be accidentally operated. This
would likely be a key switch.
Typically, this would be reviewed via
a thorough risk assessment. Would the
potential for loss of life be greater if a
terrorist achieved their aim measured
against the loss of life resulting from
operating the gate without safety in an
emergency situation? This is the key
question to be addressed at all times.
Security Matters: Do you think the
market for automated gates/barriers
will continue to grow?
Richard Jackson: Access control is an
integral aspect of perimeter security and
we see no sign of a slowdown in the
application of automated gates or
barriers to deliver an effective means of
restricting vehicular/pedestrian access to
a given site. Automated gates are no
longer the preserve of the affluent elite.
Today, they’re a regular feature of many
commercial premises, as well as on
school grounds and, increasingly so,
within multi-unit developments.
However, while there’s a strong
demand for these installations, since
there’s now a heightened awareness of
the potential safety risks associated with
automated gates and barriers,
businesses have a clearer responsibility
to ensure that the gates installed are
compliant with current Best Practice.
Sadly, some surveys undertaken by Gate
Safe at the tail end of last year signal
that it’s more than likely another
accident will happen.
We reviewed 49 sliding gates and only
ten of them were deemed safe, with
nearly 80% categorised as being unsafe.
Similarly, we assessed 65 sliding gates
and, shockingly, 98.5% were certified
‘unsafe’ with only one (1.5%) considered
to be in a safe state.
In the event of an accident, the courts
will always look at the chain of
professionals associated with an unsafe
gate. Hefty court fines (of up to £80,000,
in truth) have been handed out and an
installer has even been jailed for his part
in the death of a woman who was killed
by an unsafe gate. Businesses are laying
themselves open to potential litigation
and reputational damage if they don’t
adhere to the appropriate guidance.
Security Matters: In your opinion, how
many security installers are suitably
trained and competent to engage in
the installation of automated gates?
Richard Jackson: In the main, the larger
organisations have an understanding of
what’s required, although the level of
understanding will vary, I’m sure.
To be perfectly honest, the cohort that
I’m most concerned about are the
smaller companies that may enter the
gate automation supply business purely
by accident. An automated gate may be
added to an existing contract, for
example, or perhaps an existing client
asks the contractor if they can ‘just sort
the automation’ simply because they’re a
trusted supplier and have been for some
As is very clearly the case in other
industry sectors, the smaller companies
represent a very significant part of the
Security Matters: What are the risks if
they haven’t undertaken the relevant
and recognised training?
Richard Jackson: The risks are very
serious indeed. Being held accountable
for an accident or worse will have a
lasting impact on a business’ reputation,
let alone the distress it will cause to the
Few, if any, security businesses can
survive the financial ramifications of
being found guilty of a serious
Security Matters: What’s your core
message to anyone who chooses to
become involved in automated gate
Richard Jackson: It’s very simple. Take
the Gate Safe Aware training so that you
can join the register of approved
installers. By joining the credible register,
you will not only demonstrate your
company’s commitment to upholding the
highest standards of professionalism and
safety, but you will also be aligning your
business with the charity that pioneered
the whole automated gate safety initiative
and was commended by the Health &
Safety Executive for doing so.
All Gate Safe Aware installers have
access to a comprehensive training
manual and regular training updates as
well as the Gate Safe advisory line
providing independent unbiased
technical support, access to the Gate
Safe MOT scheme and, of course, the
opportunity to market their business
and generate leads via the independent
Gate Safe website (www.gate-safe.org).
Being held accountable for an accident or worse
will have a lasting impact on a business’
reputation, let alone the distress it will cause to
the individual(s) involved