Power Operated Garage Doors and UK Law
In practice, all you are left to do after a Garage Door Workshop automatic garage door or gate installation is to press the button, and our intelligent entry drive units will work out what you want it to do and do it, without fuss, year after year, probably for decades. Modern, top quality equipment – Hormann’s SupraMatic E, for instance – is mechanically self adjusting and electronically self-calibrating – for practical purposes maintenance free, AND backed by a 5 year onsite parts and labour guarantee.
However, recent tragic accidents have brought to everyone’s attention the potential crushing and entrapment hazards of remotely controlled, power operated machinery in the home. The industry’s trade bodies and the Health and Safety Executive have assessed three main areas of risk:
- Supply of equipment with lack of design emphasis on safety, and inadequate ability to detect and rapidly respond to obstruction on contact.
- Sub-standard and/or incomplete installation.
- Lack of information and product familiarity amongst end users.
Information leaflets issued by our industry Trade Body, in association with HSE, to promote consumer [and installer] awareness of UK Law.
Safety is everyone’s business.
From our Trade Body journal: “DHF member DN highlighted a case where a child was crushed by a garage door, and in the ensuing lawsuit the manufacturer of the door, the company that installed the door and the owner of the property where the accident happened were all held jointly legally responsible.”
As required by UK Law, all combined door and automation installations undertaken by the Garage Door Workshop will be assessed and demonstrated to you onsite to show compliance with the function and safety requirements of the EU/UK MACHINERY DIRECTIVE.
Providing all is OK you will be issued with the correct ‘Declaration of Conformity’. This is now routinely requested by house purchasers' solicitors, similar in purpose to an electrical wiring safety certificate - i.e. a legal, binding declaration of ‘safety in use’, by the person or company who put it in. You will also receive a unique identifying serial number and the ‘CE’ mark permanently affixed to the door panel.
This system has been designed to create an ‘audit trail’ of responsibility, identifying:
- the individual engineer who placed the machinery into service
- the company that supplied the equipment
- the company that manufactured the equipment and allows investigating authorities/HSE to establish, in the event of injury, how, who and why things went wrong
To achieve Legal compliance a powered garage door installation must, therefore, include the following procedures:
Detailed formal handover.
The commissioning engineer to explain and demonstrate door’s power operation functions, safety systems and check routines, emergency and manual override procedure, and maintenance requirements [if any].
Issue folder to end user with all manufacturer’s supporting documentation.
To be issued to end-user by commissioning engineer:
- Owner's manual / Operating etc; instructions for door system.
- Certificate of Incorporation/ Type testing for door system.
- Owner's manual/ Operating etc; instructions for powered operator system.
- Certificate of Incorporation/ Type testing for powered operator system.
Issue end user with ‘Declaration of Conformity’.
Original to be issued to end user by commissioning engineer; copy to be kept on file for 10 years.
The ‘Declaration of Conformity’ is the engineer/ installation company’s legal confirmation that door system and power operator selected are technically compatible and that they have been combined in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions to produce a safe and ‘conforming’ completed installation.
‘CE’ mark to completed powered door installation.
A permanent label is affixed to the door showing installation company contact details, commissioning engineer’s name; date of installation; and door’s unique identifying serial number. The ‘CE’ logo officially indicates that the completed and ‘operational’ assembly now complies with United Kingdom/ European Union Consumer product, and Health and Safety law, and therefore is ready for use.
Garage door closing edge crushing hazard.
Given that a standard double width GRP garage door panel [excluding gear components] weighs in at a hefty 115 kg/14 stone - and that power drive units capable of producing 1000N force output are not uncommon– one soon gets a sense of the enormous dynamic forces involved and the potential for harm if those forces are not safely applied.
In accordance with the EU/UK MACHINERY DIRECTIVE. powered drive equipment must be equipped with effective force sensing technology; initially to recognise that contact with obstruction has occurred and then to limit both the duration and the force applied to within defined, safe criteria.
The requirements and test methods are set out in the British Standards 12453:2001 and 12445:2001, and require an approved force test meter, but in essence:
- Initial dynamic force impact must not exceed 400N.
- Measured dynamic load must reduce to no more than 150N after 750 milliseconds. [0.75 secs]
- Final static load must not exceed 25N after 5 seconds.
Digital force testing metre. Now essential kit for all garage door and gate installation companies.
Sample testing of Cedar Door Trent sectional door previously combined with Version 2 Hormann SupraMatic E drive unit.
Initial dynamic load measured at 176 N– less than half of ‘acceptable’ impact force. Dynamic load reduced to max 150N within 74 milliseconds [0.074 sec.] Final static load= zero. Good result attributable to characteristics of door type – vertical operation, panel rigidity, soft leading edge etc - and well designed drive unit with sophisticated electronic force monitoring and almost instant back off/ auto-reverse.
The Cedar Door/ Hormann operator combination featured above had been in daily use for seven years without any maintenance or servicing and the test result is a good indicator of a high quality, durable, and safe powered garage door equipment/installation.
However, we subsequently force tested all the powered door displays at the three showrooms – in Hockliffe, St. Albans and Prestwood, Great Missenden – and discovered one installation– using older equipment – that registered a potentially injurious 672N impact force! This was quickly rectified but demonstrates that there’s no room for complacency.