Also online at: www.dijonline.co.uk 100 THE door industry journal spring 2019 Automated Gates & Barriers Fortunately, five years on, the industry has greatly improved in identifying and providing guidance on how to address this often-overlooked issue. The best time to consider solving your hinge protection problem is whilst installing an automated swing gate, or retro-fitting automation to an existing gate. According to dhf , “reducing gaps at the hinge area can generate a very high force. Access to a reducing gap at a hinge area is possible from a variety of directions.” In this article we highlight the four best ways protect against these reducing gaps. 1. Design out the hazard The first question to ask, especially during the initial installation of a gate, is “can the hazard be avoided by safer hinge design?” Figure 1 shows a problematic, yet typical, gate installation. In the bird’s eye view, you can see the hazard highlighted in the “trap area.” Figure 1: Reducing gaps at the hinge area should be avoided by safe design wherever possible. Safe design hinge criteria should be: 1. Less than 4mm or more than 25mm of gap 2. A maximum gap-change of 20% is permissible only when the constant gap is larger than 25mm, but less than 100mm. This means the only parts of the body that will fit in the gap will not be injured by a 20% reduction. Figure 2 shows how the hinge could be moved to the corner of the gate post to eliminate the trap area altogether, obviating the need for additional hinge protection measures - so long as any of the gaps or gap-changes fall within the guidelines above. Figure 2: Sometimes, it’s simply not possible to “design out” the hinge hazard, especially if working with an existing gate installation. In which case, one or more of the following measures should be applied. 2. Hold-to-run When a gate is operated via “hold-to-run” device, the safety is in the hands of human control. The gate or barrier should only move when sustained pressure is applied to the activation device such as a key switch or similar. Per dhf standard guidelines, “the leaf should not travel more than 100mm on release of the activation device and activation should only be possible in such a position that allows full, direct and permanent real-time view of the gate leaf movement and ensures that the person controlling the gate or barrier is not in a hazardous position.” This should be performed by a trained user, and video cameras are not sufficient – the user must physically see the gate movement during operation. Key switches are commonly used to prevent untrained users accessing the controls. Four Ways to Solve Your Hinge Protection Problem “£20k fine for council after boy, 6, loses fingertips on school gates…” that was the headline on the Manchester Evening News in April 2014. Although the child survived, he now has “reduced use of his hand and amputation injuries.” Making matters worse, the risk assessment in place at the time advised staff to be vigilant, but simple plastic hinge guards could have been installed with little cost and prevented the accident. Incidents like this are still occurring all too frequently.