Barrier Safety


Legislation and standards

Automated gates and traffic barriers are classified as machinery under the EU Machinery Directive. The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations, which brings the European Machinery Directive (currently 2006/42/EC) into UK criminal law, are primarily concerned with ensuring new and substantially modified powered gates and barriers are safe.

The Machinery Directive requires the Responsible Person (normally the manufacturer or another ‘deemed’ to be the manufacturer for the purposes of the directive) to ensure that:

  • a conformity assessment is carried out
  • the Essential Health and Safety Requirements in Annex 1 of the directive have been met
  • a technical file is compiled
  • user instructions and maintenance instructions are provided to the operator
  • a Declaration of Conformity is issued and
  • that the gate is correctly CE marked.

Once the gate or barrier is brought into use, any failings of the gate or barrier that cause or could cause injury to an individual can be prosecuted under UK criminal law.

The major pieces of legislation of concern to manufacturers, installers and gate owners are the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008, Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1998 and Building Regulations (Part P England and Wales section 5.6/6 in Scotland).

Installers, business, and domestic owners are also potentially liable under UK civil law as the result of an incident with an unsafe powered gate.

The legislation and standards that need to be considered during the design, manufacture, installation, and maintenance of automated gates are:

  • the Equality Act 2010, which aims to protect disabled people and to prevent disability discrimination
  • the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (as amended)
  • the Disability Equality Duty of which continues to apply
  • BS 7671, Requirements for Electrical Installations (also known as the “IET Wiring Regulations”)
  • Building Regulations Part P England and Wales
  • Building Standards sections 4.5 & 4.6 in Scotland

dhf has produced a revised version of Technical Specification DHF TS 011:2018 The Code of Practice for the Design, Manufacture, Installation and Maintenance of Powered Gates and Traffic Barriers that can be requested from Access Control Ltd by emailing


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