• Robert Spicer

Electric Gate: Death Of Child: Recent Prosecution

Electric gate death: £60,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v John Glen (Installation Services) Ltd and Tremorfa Ltd (2014) Cardiff Crown Court, June 12

Two companies have been fined after a five-year old child was crushed to death by an electric gate.

Significant points of the case

  • In July 2010 Karolina Golabek was playing near electric sliding gates outside flats near her home in Bridgend, South Wales.

  • The gates automatically closed after a car passed through. The child’s body was found in the gap between the gates and a post. She suffered fatal crushing injuries.

  • The closing force of the gate was 220 kg and did not meet European and British safety standards.

  • There were dangers with the gate structure which left space for people to get trapped. There were insufficient and incorrectly set safety features to detect a person in the area which would prevent the gate closing automatically.

  • John Glen (Installation Services) Ltd had fitted a new electric motor to the gate, which was put back into use despite the fact that there were obvious trapping points. The company had also failed to properly test that the gate would close when it met an obstruction.

  • Tremorfa Ltd was contracted for the maintenance of the gate. It did not carry out vital safety checks including closing force measurements.

John Glen (Installation Services) Ltd was fined £60,000 plus £40,000 costs for a breach of section 3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees, plus £40,000 costs.

Tremorfa Ltd was fined £50,000 plus £40,000 costs for the same offence.

A spokesperson for the HSE is reported to have commented after the case that badly installed and maintained gates were a threat to all pedestrians, but young children were particularly vulnerable because they were often completely unaware of the dangers. No-one should install or work on automated gates without knowing the relevant safety standards or without having the right equipment to check that the gate is safe after they have worked on it.

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