10 Gate Opener Safety Tips

10 Gate Opener Safety Tips

We love automatic gate openers, but when you have an automatic gate opener installed you need to stay aware – this list will help you to operate safely, but it is not an exhaustive list, always make sure you have read your manufacturer’s instructions or model specific safety guidance.

Gate Safety Features:

01. Know your gate system.

Are you having your gate system professionally fitted?  Ask the Company to demonstrate all of the safety features of your system and make sure that you are completely comfortable with every aspect of its operation before taking it over.  In particular, make sure that you are aware of how to safely test your system and are up to speed on any maintenance that you need to undertake to keep things operational.  Ensure that they have shown you how to manually operate the gate in the event of a power outage or a complete failure of the system.  You don’t want to get locked out, or in!

02. Check the listing mark.

The gate should show the ‘mark’ or approval of a nationally recognized testing laboratory.  For an automatic gate opener system, you are looking for ‘UL’, ‘ETL’ or similar.  This will reassure you that the gate opener you are having installed or installing yourself, complies with the UL standard for safety.  Peace of mind for you that the product itself isn’t inherently dangerous.

03. Doing it Yourself?

It is possible – are you really competent mechanically?  An experienced D-I-Yer?  A qualified electrician?  If you fall short on any of the above then the recommendation would always be to go for a professional installation.  Gates are really heavy, and the force created by an automatic gate opener is considerable – this can create obvious hazards if there are any problems with the install.

Any automatic gate opener will need to be installed in accordance with a detailed procedure.  This will involve secondary entrapment prevention devices and also vehicular detection devices.  The installations must comply with UL325 Safety Standards and the gate needs to comply with ASTM F2200.

Given all of those requirements if you aren’t completely confident in your abilities then the top safety tip is to get someone on site who is, and get it professionally fitted.

04. Inherent Reverse.

The legislation changed in March 2000 and automatic gate openers that are recognized by a testing laboratory and used by the public must include an inherent reversing facility and also must have a secondary entrapment device – photoelectric eyes or reversing edges.

If your gate was installed before March 2000 then these modern safety features may not be installed, perhaps it’s time to think about a replacement?

Operational Safety Features:

05. Keep Clear

When you are operating the gate always stand well clear, and make sure that nobody is within the operating area.  Entrapment can cause injury or death – the force the gates are operating with is considerable, make sure that it has room to complete the movement without.

06. Keep your children safe

Do not allow children anywhere near automated gates.  Teach them to stay away from the gate, not to climb on it, ever, and not to operate it.

07. 10-foot safety zone

All controls should be fitted during installation to make sure that any person who is using the control to open or close the gate cannot, at the same time, touch the gate or the gate opener.  The guidance tells you that all controls need to be at least 10 feet away from the gate to maintain the safety zone.  If you have an old system installed where it is possible to reach through gate itself to operate the controls manually then get yourself a professional gate installation company to come and move the control.  Which leads us nicely to:

08. Never reach through

Do not ever reach through the gate and operate the gate opening and closing controls.  This is just so dangerous.  If you have followed the advice in step 7 of course, you will be safe and can’t do this – if you can, then get the controls move.  You do not want to get an arm caught up in a moving gate.

09. Mind any Pinch Points

Of course, after reading all of these you aren’t going to be near the gate when it’s moving are you?  Nor is anyone else?  Pinch points though should be fitted with covers or guards according to ASTM F2200 – that should make all exposed rollers safe in operation.  The guards are to prevent anything from getting caught between the roller and the gate.

If your gate doesn’t have these guards then consider getting them retrospectively installed.

10. Maintenance

This really should be in capital letters.  Like any electro-mechanical device, your system needs periodic maintenance and testing to make sure that it is operationally safe.  Check out the owner’s manual which should give you all the information you need to keep your system safe and running smoothly.   If you have had the gate professionally installed then you may want to inquire about a maintenance contract so that they keep it in tip-top condition for you.

Top automatic gate opener safety tips?  Keep clear of it when it’s working, make sure it’s installed correctly, meets the safety requirements, and is maintained.  If you follow the top 10 automatic gate opener tips you won’t go far wrong.  Having an automatic gate opener is an absolute boon, once you have one installed you will not regret it but make sure you keep safe.


Author: Richard Forest

A BFA in interior design major Richard developed his interest in home automation issues and interior design. Working initially on print publications and then online during vacations and alongside his study. Online website publication was a short step and initially, Richard worked alongside friends setting up reliable online platforms. Setting up Home Morphing was a logical progression where Richard could control the reliability of the reviews and make sure that his name was linked with a site where he could offer value to visitors. Richard is enjoying post-graduate life and working on his own projects with no deadlines. Having moved into his own home the opportunity to spend time researching home-based products is a gift. Read more about Richard Forest on our About Page.