December, 2001
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

New safety standards for automatic security gates


Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have announced tougher safety standards for automatic security gates, which require automatic gates to have at least two mechanisms to prevent entrapment. The new standards, which are similar to the standards for garage doors, are aimed at preventing some of the over 2,000 gate-related injuries that occur each year. These sliding or swinging gates are typically found at the entrances of
residences, apartment buildings, condominiums, parking lots and garages, and commercial establishments.

Since 1985, at least 32 deaths related to automatic gates, including 20 deaths to children, have been reported. From 1990 to 2000, CPSC estimated nearly 25,000 people have been involved in automatic gate-related injuries, including 9,000 children under 15 years old.

The new standards require a sensing device that will reverse the gate if it encounters an obstruction when opening or closing; and a secondary sensing mechanism, such as an electric eye or an edge sensor that will reverse the gate if an obstruction is detected. Additional safety measures related to gate installation include the following:

• elimination of all gaps over 2.25 inches,

• installation of controls far enough from the gate so users cannot come into contact with the gate while operating the controls,

• installation of controls where the user has full view of the gate operation,

• elimination of pinch points,

• installation of guarding on exposed rollers, and

• posting of warning signs on each side of the gate.