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Electric Gate Company In Court Over Trapped Child Accident

Leicestershire Firm In Dock Over Accident


A security company has been prosecuted over safety failings that led to a young boy being injured when he was trapped in an electric gate.

The incident occurred at Pedmore Primary School in Stourbridge in September 2012, when an eight-year-old had his head trapped between the edge of the closing gate and the metal post. He suffered significant bruising on his head and ear, but the injuries could have been worse had his father, who was present, not managed to pull the gate open to release his son.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company responsible for the gate, Access Control Solutions (UK), had failed to fit any guarding on the gate to prevent such an incident.

It had recognised such a guard was needed, but had not fitted it because the gate did not fit the guarding and therefore it could not be installed.

The company pleaded guilty at Dudley Magistrates' Court to breaching Regulation 18 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. It was fined £3,300 with costs of £773.

Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Sarah Palfreyman described the accident as "entirely preventable", particularly as Access Control Solutions had identified the problem. 

She stated: "At this point they should have either come up with an alternative or postponed the job until the problem was rectified, especially as they were fully aware that the entrance would be used by a particularly vulnerable group - young children."

Ms Palfreyman urged companies responsible for installing and operating such gates to read HSE guidance on the topic, as there has been "a number of fatalities involving children in recent years".
HSE guidance on the safe operation of electric gates has five key points companies should follow.

They are that the right equipment should be used to test that gates meet safety standards, and if this is absent they should not be installed; the force of the closure should be limited to British and European standards with the gates reversing if they hit an object; there should be sensors to stop the closure of gates if the presence of a person is detected; protection has to be in place for any areas where people could get trapped or crushed; and there must be an emergency release mechanism in case anyone is trapped.

If your child has been seriously injured, our specialist serious injury claims team could help you claim compensation. Visit our Children's Serious Injury Claims for more information.

Expert Opinion
Guarding is a basic feature which can make a massive difference to the lives of so many people. We see numerous cases where its use could have made a huge impact, from incidents when people have been injured in accidents at work to scenarios similar to this one.

"Too many people every year are injured at work or in public places as a result of safety failings which should never have happened, with this case being yet another example of this.

"It is vital that companies recognise the importance of health and safety for both their workers and the general public. Lessons must be learned from cases like this if further problems are going to be prevented in the future."
Stephen Nye, Partner

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