“Safety Is Everyone’s Business “
All of us must be aware of the possible hazards associated with gate operating systems. Even though Entry & Exit Systems is a distributor and not an installation company, we feel that it is necessary to convey to you the importance of safety when designing, specifying, installing or operating a gate operator system.
When it comes to the actual system design, even though many times the customer may tell you what they want and that they do not want to spend too much to get it, many of them are not aware of the potential hazards of these types of systems. So once you explain it to them, more often than not they will agree to the added safety features.
The standard to which vehicular gate openers are designed, manufactured and tested is UL 325; Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Standard for Safety: Door, Drapery, Gate, Louver, and Window Operators and Systems. In addition to the 325 standard, vehicular gate operators must also be tested to UL 991; Tests for Safety-Related Controls Employing Solid-State Devices.
The UL 325 Standard has undergone significant revisions over the past several years. The purpose of the revisions is to create entrapment prevention criteria for vehicular gate operators and systems, and to increase over-all safety of the product.(please visit http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/corporate/standards/ for additional information.) The standard also calls out for specific construction specifications for the vehicular gate itself (see ASTM F2200-02). The revised standard was first published September 18, 1998, and went into effect March 1, 2000.
Keep in mind that this and other safety standards are written for YOUR protection. UL has developed more than 1,000 Standards for Safety. These Standards for Safety are essential to helping ensure public safety and confidence, reduce costs, improve quality, and market products and services. Millions of products and their components are tested to UL's rigorous safety standards with the result that consumers live in a safer environment than they would have otherwise.
The following is a list of some of the major areas that must be addressed concerning safety issues with gate operating systems:
1. Controls. When any type of control station is used to activate the gate operator system it must never be in a position where the user can activate it and also come in contact with the gate. Also, these controls should always be placed where the user has full sight of the gate.
2. Open rollers. When this type of gate is incorporated, always specify roller guards. This will eliminate the open roller potential hazard altogether.
3. Ornamental “Grill Type” gates. It is highly recommended that this style of gate have a screen mesh or other style of protection on it. This will eliminate the potential of someone putting there hand or arm through the opening.
4. Vehicle gates vs. pedestrian gates. Vehicle gates are for vehicles and pedestrian gates are for pedestrians. If there is any chance of pedestrians attempting to use the vehicle gate for entering or exiting, then recommend that a pedestrian gate be installed.
The following are some of the safety related areas that must be addressed after the installation:
1. Testing. Test all the installed safety features.
2. Training. Make sure the user is trained in the basic functions and safety features of the gate system.
3. Literature. Always leave the end user the installation and maintenance manual and all safety instruction or brochures.
4. Visual warnings. Recommend to the end user that any and all warning signs or placards that were installed should remain there. Always install them.
Before leaving the job site, it is recommended that photographs be taken of the entire job site. Take pictures of the operator, access controls, safety related items, and any and all warning signs.
We leave you with the following by John Ruskin, with some additions.
It is unwise to pay too much…but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money…that is all. When you pay too little or do not purchase enough, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot --- it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better and possibly safer.