“Many companies do not know this, however in Europe you are required to buy gates that have been CE marked, as such an employer is obliged to provide his employees with safe working equipment. A CE mark on a gate gives the reassurance that it is safe to be used by all.”
Eric Fischer, Product Development Engineer at Heras, in this blog summarises what CE marking means when it comes to gates: “What it really comes down to is that a gate is safe in daily use, and also whilst it is undergoing what should be regular service and maintenance inspections, which is laid down in legal guidelines and rules that we have to comply with”. Gate safety is paramount at Heras. It’s not just the product at the time of delivery, but also the installation, service and maintenance of it.
In Europe, rules and requirements have been issued for many products. The most important rules for gates are stated in the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). Power-driven doors are also subject to the Machinery Directive (MD). Each European country that is a member is legally obliged to comply with these regulations.
The CPR requires that a construction product fulfills fundamental requirements such as safety and accessibility in use. In our case, gates, both manually operated and powered, fall under construction products. European harmonised standards are used to meet these requirements. These standards describe which essential characteristics apply to a product. For some characteristics, testing by a certification body ‘Notified Body’ (NoBo) is required. For powered gates, a NoBo measures and assesses the operating forces. Should a moving part of a gate hit a person or obstacle, these forces may not exceed a set limit. This must ultimately be confirmed in a ‘Declaration of Performance’ (DoP). A CE mark must also be present.
The MD applies to machinery, thus including powered gates. This directive describes the essential health and safety requirements that machinery must comply with.
Again, European standards are used to demonstrate that a product complies. This is declared by means of a Declaration of Conformity (DoC). And here too, a CE mark must be present on the product.
At Heras, all relevant products have a DoP and, additionally for powered gates, a DOC with the corresponding CE label.
At Heras, we take measures to prevent unsafe situations from occuring. Let’s take a powered sliding gate as an example. The sliding section means there is a danger of pinching. One measure taken to prevent this is safety edges. This ensures that a moving gate stops the moment an obstacle is hit. In addition, these gates are equipped with photocells that ensure all moving parts stop before they comes into contact with a person or obstacle. At Heras, we fit these safety edges and photocells to all our powered gates as standard. This enables us to guarantee that a gate is safe to use and functions in accordance with all applicable requirements.
After installation, it is important to ensure that the gate continues to comply with the safety regulations. The owner/manager of a gate has a legal duty of care towards users and visitors (including intruders). During the entire period of use, a gate must be maintained in such a way that it always complies with the applicable essential health and safety requirements. The user manual, which must be supplied in the correct language, contains the maintenance instructions.
Failure to properly observe the maintenance instructions may result in an unsafe gate. In the event of damage or injury, the owner may be held liable. By having maintenance conducted by certified experts, you can rest assured that the gate will continue to meet the set standards and regulations.
Eric Fischer is a member of the technical committee of the NHI (branch association for fencing), a committee member of NEN and a member of the European gate standards group WG5. The latter is involved in drawing up, assessing and rewriting European standards for gates. “You have a real influence on the standard, you can think, discuss with peers and know exactly what is meant in a standard. This is not always clear to everyone, after all.” And that makes his work varied. “The best part of my job at Heras is the variety between developing products and applying my knowledge of CE to our products, but above all passing by knowledge on. Product safety doesn’t stop at the engineering department, but has to be supported by the entire organisation, from Sales to Service Engineers. I have been working here since 1996, and I am still enjoying it.” This is easy to see as Eric talks about Heras with pride. And with Eric, Heras has a real CE expert in house.
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