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door industry journal

summer 2016

industry news feature


Powered industrial doors,

garage doors, gates and

traffic barriers are all

covered by the Machinery Directive and the same

package of standards in equal measure. The

applicable standards in this context are EN 12453,

which describes what safe forces are, and EN 12445,

which describes the test equipment and test methods

to be used. These standards set out the current “state

of the art” and hence what legislation sees as

reasonable and practicable to achieve, much in the

same way that BS 7671 (wiring regulations) describes

the requirements for electrical safety.

Force limitation for crush hazards is described in EN 12453

as a maximum of 400N, reducing to 150N in 0.75 seconds

and reducing further to below 25N in 5 seconds. Only

measurement with an EN 12445 compliant, calibrated

force measurement force/time test meter can verify this.

There are currently numerous myths circulating around the

subject of force testing:

Myth 1: Force testing does not apply to industrial

or garage doors

There is no basis for such a claim; all applicable legislation

and standards apply in equal measure to powered gates,

industrial doors, garage doors and traffic barriers.

In some circumstances, where the manufacturer of a

complete industrial or garage door, or the manufacturer of

an electric operator/control panel/safe edge package, has

had their product tested by a European Commission

approved Notified Test Laboratory, the type testing process

may have negated the need for testing at the initial

commissioning stage. This can be confirmed in the door

or electric operator documentation and will be apparent in

the door installation instructions or the presence of “Article

36 authority” (Construction Products Regulation) for safe

forces in the operator documentation. In all other

situations, testing will be required to verify safe force.

Myth 2: Traffic barriers intended for vehicular use

are exempt from the need for force limitation

Whilst this might have some basis, for it to apply,

pedestrians would need to be securely and actively

prevented from gaining access to the barrier. The use of

signage diverting pedestrians to an alternative route does

not achieve this. The Machinery Directive demands that

foreseeable misuse must be considered and provided for

in the risk assessment. Hence, if a pedestrian could

foreseeably access the door, barrier or gate, it must be

safe to that degree.

Myth 3: Force testing powered gates is not valid

because testing does not take into account the

wind acting on a gate, which could dramatically

increase the force. Force testing only tests the

leading edge of a gate and for a swing gate the

forces will be increased as you approach the

hinge end of the gate

The Machinery Directive would not allow that a powered

gate could be less safe on a windy day and hence the

provisions for safety must take potential environmental

conditions into account and be provided for in the design.

Verification that this is achieved is paramount.

Force is a product primarily of weight, speed and torque

and although torque can be seen to increase across the

width of a swing gate towards the hinge area, speed is also

Force Testing Powered

Industrial Doors,

Domestic Garage Doors,

Gates and Traffic Barriers

Nick Perkins, DHF Training Officer at the Door and

Hardware Federation, dispels the numerous myths

surrounding the subject of force testing doors, gates

and barriers.

It is now universally understood and accepted that where force limitation is the

means of protecting a hazardous location on a powered gate, the gate will need to

be force tested both at the commissioning stage and as part of maintenance; HSE

confirmed this in its Safety Bulletin FOD 7 in 2010. The HSE advice applies equally

to all powered access – read more at this direct link

or visit