The Importance of Safety in Electric Roller Doors

Anyone selling and installing electric roller doors, be they controlled by switch or remote operated have an obligation to comply with two key pieces of EU legislation.The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 (SMR)The Construction Products Regulation 2011 – EU No. 305/2011 (CPR)

Each of these mean that the relevant garage door must carry a CE mark and to be accompanied by official declarations. Unfortunately cost-cutting has led to many simply ignoring the regulations and legislation in the UK. Let’s look at how safety is ensured and why safety in electric roller doors is so pivotal.

Safety in any electric roller door begins with the ‘dead man’ switch, which is basically a rocker switch that is positioned by the electrical contractor in view of the door while it is in operation. This means that the person operating the door maintains 100% responsibility as the switch must be held down constantly in order to work.Unfortunately there are many documented instances of serious incidents, some even resulting in fatalities, usually resulting from the use of a substantial electric roller door by an operator who was unable to see the door adequately. This is such a basic and grave error and of course contravenes the EU legislation.Another standard and common safety control used prevalently in the operation of remote controlled electric roller doors are ‘bottom edge safety devices. Essentially these are simply rubber seals with an ingenious built in pressure detection system that is designed to stop the door at the exact moment it comes in contact with an obstacle during closure.

In addition, there is another slightly less common system involving using the electric motor of the door itself to detect a power surge if the bottom edge of the door encounters an obstacle, which results in a reversal of the motor instantaneously. This system is only used in externally mounted electric motor systems.

At least one of these devices must be in place in order to comply with current regulations. Those manufacturers selling electric roller garage doors that are merely fitted with infra-red beams and claiming to be CE compliant are simply irresponsible and after July 2013 regulations came in to make this a criminal act. Unfortunately the wording of the regulation means that using infra-red beams is not the criminal offence, rather the manufacturing and supply of doors that cannot be correctly CE marked is, meaning that some irresponsible companies have got off the hook.

Any electric roller door without proper safety devices fitted it is not only a hazard for people but can also result in damage if it closes on an object in its path. There is also the possibility of entrapment when opening the industrial door, which highlights the importance of safety hoods, which prevent hands from being inserted into the rolling area to free any obstruction, which would put the user at risk. Some doors benefit from a system that can detect resistance while opening and help prevent damage and injury. In addition, electric roller doors should be fitted with the structure in mind. Only recently there was a tragic incident involving a shutter coming free from the wall of an industrial building and crushing someone.

John Hinds

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