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With the Christmas holidays looming, many schools will be looking to make the most of the break to undertake maintenance works to improve or upgrade the school buildings and outdoor facilities.

Since perimeter security and access control remain high on the list of priorities for the majority of educational establishments keen to safeguard the children in their care, it is becoming common place to see automated – and manual – gates sited within a school setting.

All automated gates should be maintained every six months, potentially more if the gates are subject to very high usage. Many schools don’t appreciate that it is a legal requirement to ensure an automated gate is adequately maintained (PUWER – Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) The maintenance check should be undertaken by a qualified Doors & Hardware Federation installer, who is trained to understand the risks that need to be taken into consideration to deliver a safe and legally compliant gate.

A full maintenance review will not only take into consideration the wear and tear on the gate, its smooth operation and the continued efficacy of all safety features, it should also include a full risk assessment to re-evaluate the physical setting and requirements of the gate as these may have changed since its original installation.

Following reports of a spate of accidents involving manual gates, safety advisors are also encouraging schools to use the holiday period to check the safety of any manual gates in operation within the school grounds. In line with RoSPA guidance, such gates should generally feature a soft close hinge to prevent the gate slamming with excess force and should be reviewed to ensure that there are no finger or hand traps and shear points on both sides of the gate.

The gate should have a clearance of between 60mm and 100 mm beneath the gate to reduce the risk of foot injuries and there should be no sharp edges and fixings (all edges should be a minimum of 3mm radius).

Premier Security Consultants, based in Hainault, Essex are official members of The Door & Hardware Federation and are qualified to carry out site surveys, installations, repairs and maintenance work.

To book a site survey, contact our office at 0208 559 8295 on book a visit. You can find us at 19-21 Roebuck Road, Hainault Business Park, Ilford, Essex, IG6 3TU.

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