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Electrical company sentenced after gate death

25 May 2022

AN ELECTRICAL company has been fined €20,000, with prosecution costs of over €12,000, for failing to carry out the necessary research on the rolling electric gate which fell and fatally injured a 44-year-old security guard in Co. Meath, Ireland in 2016.

The guard was crushed to death by the one tonne gate after he tried to close it manually when the electric motor failed.

This tragic case once again highlights the importance of understanding the correct protocol for installing and maintaining an electrical gate – and adhering to what is now acknowledged as best practice.

The gate in question failed to feature metal end stop plates which would have prevented over travel and ultimately would have stopped the heavy structure from falling. In addition, a suitable slam end post would have also provided a back-up safety feature in the event of the gate leaving the sliding track.

Training on how to place an electric gate into manual operation, or back into fully automated mode should always be included in the official handover of a completed installation – and this should also of course be actionable without the risk of injury.

Commenting on the court case, founder of Gate Safe Richard Jackson said, “Sadly since this terrible accident in 2016 we are aware of at least six further cases of falling gates causing significant injuries, including one death and in the year preceding this incident, there were an additional five accidents, including two fatalities.

"This dreadful outcome could so easily have been avoided had the gate been correctly installed and maintained, in our view the accident is yet another painful example of either ignorance or apathy, neither of which can be deemed as a valid or acceptable excuse – and neither capable of providing any degree of comfort to the victim’s family. All automated gates and barriers should be installed and maintained by a trained and competent installer who has undergone the requisite training to understand the risks associated with these ‘machines’. The correct training will result in an appreciation of the action required to overcome any issues jeopardizing the safety of those using or assuming responsibility for opening and closing the gates. All installers – and their employers - have a duty of care to ensure that their training remains up to date. The fine imposed is nothing compared to the lifelong sentence that has been delivered to the victim’s loved ones.”

For more information on Gate Safe training visit www.gate-safe.org/training