Gate opener safety tips – Make your driveway safer

Most customers have a tendency to ask for systems with no safety features in order to get the reduced price for their gate opener. However, when they are informed about the possible dangers that come with the operation of such systems they will opt for the adding of safety features.

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The purpose of this blog is to stress the most important aspects of Gate operating systems that both owners and inspectors need to pay attention to:

  1. First of all, stand clear! While the motorized gate is operational/moving DO NOT try to enter or squeeze through! Injuries caused by entrapment by sliding or swinging gates can be severe and even fatal! Until the moment the motorized gate comes to a complete stop keep yourself and other people, animals or objects away from it and by all means DO NOT allow anyone to ride on top of it!

  1. Make sure your system possesses a Listing Mark. Even before purchase and most certainly before installation of your automatic gate system check your product to make sure it is safety tested and if it complies with the UL 325 Standard for Safety. The listing mark on your product should belong to a recognized company such as “UL” or ”ETL”.

  1. Perform a visual inspection. Before operating a newly installed motorized gate system visually confirm that all of the moving parts of your system such as rollers, brackets and fasteners are properly put together, aligned and lubricated where necessary. In addition, inspect your system for proper entrapment sensors (photoeyes, edge sensors…). All the entrapment sensors included in your system should operate independently of each other.

  1. Never reach through! Similarly to what was mentioned in the first point regarding standing clear from the automatic gate, do not try to operate gate controls from the wrong side or by putting your arms or hands through the gate’s moving path. It is a practice that gate controls should not be placed in a way that operating the gate requires a person to cross the moving path of the gate. OPERATING THE GATE BY PUTTING YOUR ARMS OR HANDS ACROSS OR THROUGH ITS PATH CAN BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!

  1. The distance rule. The gate system controls should be by no means placed in such a way that the person operating them is able to touch the gate itself or the gate opener. It is a must not to place any gate controls in such a way that it would encourage potential users to reach through the gate. The unofficial safe distance rule states that gate controls should be at least 10 feet away from the actual gate. If it so happens, however, that this is not the case with your gate, shut down its power supply and contact a professional gate installation company to fix the issue for you.

  1. Be a responsible parent! If you have children, either in your household or as visitors, make sure to explain to them the importance of safety in gate operation. You should not allow children to use the gate remote control unsupervised and/or at all or to play with the gate in any sort of way.

  1. Photoelectric Beam Sensor
    Photoelectric Beam Sensor

    Gate safety and sensors. It is crucial that your gate opening/closing system has an inherent reversing feature as a primary means of safety. The reverse should be operational both during the opening and the closing process of the gate. Besides that, motorized gates should have a secondary safety mechanism such as reversing edges or photoelectric eyes. In any case, if the current system does not feature primary and secondary safety mechanisms be sure to install them as soon as possible.

  1. Perform tests on the reversing sensors: Both vertical frame (or frames) and vertical edge sensors (if included in the mechanism) should be tested after the gate is installed. For safety reasons, it is essential that the gate reversing mechanism and sensors which trigger it are operational. Tests should be performed for the scenarios when the gate is both fully open and fully closed. For a completely closed gate, start by operating the gate to make it open. When the gate starts opening, obstruct the path of the moving gate with a solid object by pressing it firmly either on the gate frame or on an edge sensor. If the system is working correctly, the gate should come to a halt in approximately 2 seconds and then reverse in the opposite direction for a few inches. If everything is in order and the gate mechanism does reverse when obstructed, perform the same test for the situation when the gate closes. In case that the mechanism has issues contact proper services. DO NOT USE YOUR BODY OR ANY OF YOUR LIMBS INSTEAD OF SOLID OBJECT TO PERFORM THIS TEST! If the gate sensors are not operational you could sustain serious injuries by doing so!

  1. ONLY VEHICLES SHOULD USE THE MAIN ENTRANCE! A different entrance has to be provided for pedestrians.

  1. Don’t need any help? Guess again. Automatic gate openers are not a plug-and-play sort of product that everyone can install on their own. Professional companies dealing primarily with gate mechanism installation exist for a good reason! Besides the installation problems caused by the weight of the gate frames, the complex system of sensors also needs to be installed by certified personnel to ensure safety.Tweet this post! Click To Tweet This type of gate openers should comply with UL 325 Safety Standard and the product itself has to comply with ASTM F2200.

  1. Guards and covers: Gate rollers, as an essential part of any automatic gate openers, must have guards or covers installed to ensure that there is no danger for hands and feet to be caught by the mechanism. In case that the product you acquired did not come with proper covers or guards for these parts make sure to contact certified personnel and have them installed as soon as possible.

  1. Movement irregularities: During gate operation some movement irregularities can occur. Usually, one could notice the gate slowing down or stopping at some points. In addition, gate swaying is normal to a certain small extent but should not be serious since that could be a sign of some malfunction. If you notice some of these movement irregularities contact proper service companies straight away to ensure safe operation of your mechanism. gate opener sign

  1. Properly placed gate signs: Your gate system should include a clearly visible sign informing potential passers-through about the proper gate usage. In case you have multiple gates make sure all of them contain these warning signs. It wouldn’t hurt to have them on both sides of the gate as well.

Final word: In the end, I would like to emphasize that automatic gate openers reviews and automatic gate openers for driveways reviews should BY NO MEANS serve as an installation guide. Quite the opposite, as I have already stated, these systems should only be installed by properly trained personnel. In any case, I would like to kindly ask you once more, not to attempt any installation or repairs on your own!

P.S. If you need some help choosing the right brand of your automatic gate opener system, from my experience I would recommend checking out manufacturers/brands like Aleko, Mighty Mule, US Automatic…

Tweet this post! Click To Tweet Michael G.