Self-closing gates: your safety first
With working at height regulations becoming ever more stringent, the question is – what products are available that cover all eventualities when it comes to safety risk?
Where working at height is a factor, all too often the correct measures are not taken to ensure round-the-clock safety. Where there is machinery in operation, particularly when above ground level, the need for robust safety apparatus is paramount. ISO standards EN 14122 Part 3 & Part 4 defines the general requirements for safe access to machinery. The standard advises the correct choice of access means where access is not possible directly from ground level or from a floor.
Gates can fulfil this requirement and is ideal for use in any rooftop, high level platform or ground level industrial environment. Self-closing gates can protect any openings providing safe access to restricted areas.
Self-closing gates typically have a spring-loaded mechanism to automatically close behind the user meaning that the speed at which the gate closes can be adjusted, this is a far safer option than the chains or draw bars of old, as these barrier methods mean that once someone has passed through the opening there is no automatic reclose function, leaving the roof or platform in question a high-risk area once again.
Product versatility is a key factor in ensuring site security. When specifying a gate the following should be considered:
- Is it designed to be cut to size to suit existing opening? This means a gate can be held in stores for multiple applications around site, minimising response and downtimes
- Has an adjustable spring
- Has been independently tested
- CE marked to EN 1090
- Quick and easy to assemble
- Can be used for external and internal applications
- Galvanised steel for long term corrosion resistance or ‘safety yellow’ option for high visibility
- Retro-fits to existing structures, options for wall mounting or fitting to round, angle or square uprights
- Complies with test requirements of EN 13374 Class A and with EN 14122 Part 3 & Part 4
Different Gates for different applications
While the self-closing gate has its uses when correctly specified, it may not be suitable for all applications and as with all other workplace activities hazards should be controlled as the result of a risk assessment.
Where pedestrian traffic needs to be controlled around a facility where vehicles and fork trucks operate an electronically controlled barrier may be the more suitable option.
Many companies operate ‘lock off’ procedures only allowing access for approved staff to certain areas e.g. for maintenance staff when repairing or maintaining machinery which can only be accessed once certain procedures such as electrically isolating the machinery has been completed.
On loading bays and mezzanines it is common to use ‘pallet’ or ‘mezzanine’ gates, typically twin gates of a pivoting design, the gate not only separates pedestrians from the forklift loading operation onto the loading area, they also secure the ledges of the loading bays to prevent unsafe fall accidents.