Safety information for electric industrial gates

Electric gates can breakdown for several reasons, such as damage to the gate leaf or support post, or wear and tear of the drive mechanism, stoppers or rails.

Worn or broken stoppers can allow the gate to travel off the end of the track and fall. Broken support posts or guides can also allow a gate to fall.

When the drive mechanism is disconnected, some features on the gate don’t work, such as:

  • the anti-collision function – the gate can now open into something and crush it
  • the travel limiters – you’re now relying on physical stoppers to stop the gate over-travelling
  • the gate speed control – it can now run into the stoppers too quickly and they can break.

Consider ‘reasonably practicable’ control measures to manage the risks associated with electric gates. You must:

  • make sure the gate is installed by a competent person
  • use a safe system of work when installing or replacing the gate, to prevent it falling
  • engage a competent person, such as a mechanic or engineer, to regularly inspect and maintain the gate, including the drive mechanism, stoppers, posts, rails and tracks.

If the drive mechanism stops working:

  • only disconnect it if it’s safe to do so, and only so you can secure the gate
  • make sure the gate can be supported in its track by the posts and/or guides
  • secure the gate in an open or closed position, and have a competent person complete the repairs as soon as possible
  • put up a sign advising the gate is not working
  • don’t use the gate manually – it’ll create wear and tear on the stoppers.

If you must use the gate manually, do a risk assessment and develop a safe system of work – and make sure everyone knows how to do it safely.

IMAGE: Industrial gate involved in a fatality – 12 June 2020. A 64-year-old worker died after an electric industrial gate weighing nearly 260kg fell on him as he was trying to manually open it. The gate and surrounding fencing had been damaged and was yet to be fully repaired.