Wales

Gate safety call after deaths in Bridgend, Manchester

Karolina Golabek of Bridgend (left), and Semelia Campbell of Manchester
Image caption Karolina Golabek and Semelia Campbell's relatives campaigned to ban the gates in residential areas

Companies who design, install and maintain electric gates have been urged to follow new safety advice after two children died in separate incidents.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued an alert saying more safeguards needed to be fitted to gates.

Karolina Golabek, five, and Semelia Campbell, six, were crushed by gates in Bridgend, and Manchester earlier in the summer.

HSE's David Ashton said firms "must take their responsibilities seriously".

The HSE safety alert said merely limiting the force with which gates close would not provide enough protection to meet the standards required.

Mr Ashton, HSE's director of field operations, said: "Electric or automatic gates are designed to stop if someone gets in the way, and installers and those maintaining these gates have a real duty to ensure this happens.

"They must take their responsibilities seriously to make sure that anti-crushing, shearing and trapping safety protection devices are correctly set and maintained."

The alert follows a similar notice issued to gate manufacturers and installers in February this year.

Police and HSE investigations into both deaths are continuing.

HSE said it wants to make it clear to installers that they must take action to prevent pedestrians from becoming trapped in electric gates.

"When manufacturing, designing or installing electric gates, it's crucial to consider who will be in the area when it's operating," added Mr Ashton.

"If the general public can access the gate then additional protections should be in place.

"These protections can be in the form of creating safe distances, installing fixed guards, limiting the forces or installing sensitive protective equipment - among others."

Operating conditions

HSE also advised those in control of the maintenance of electric gates to regularly review their risk assessments, taking account of or any changes to the operating conditions or environment.

Shortly after Semelia's death on 28 June and Karolina's death on 3 July, their families gave their support to a campaign to ban electric gates in residential areas.

After the Manchester incident two men, aged 38, were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence and have been released on police bail.

In July the trade body which represents gate installers, the AESIF, said it would welcome a change in the law to ensure any company had to be legally registered to carry out work on automatic gates.

Its director general, John Birkett, added that his body was hoping to meet UK government officials about the issue in the near future.

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