The Machinery Directive – Standards
Automated Door, Gate and Traffic Barrier FAQs
These FAQs are intended as a quick reference to the main points of automated entrance legal compliance and safety.
They cover automated doors, gates & traffic barriers primarily intended for vehicle use, but which might also be
accessible to people; they also include shutters over commercial entrance doors, eg shop front shutters.
These FAQs do not cover automatic doors that are intended solely for pedestrian access. The Automatic Door Suppliers’
Association (ADSA) can provide guidance on automatic pedestrian door safety.
Use of these FAQs should be backed up by consulting the appropriate DHF COP as appropriate; DHF TS 011:2018 Code of
practice for automated gates & barriers AND DHF TS 012:2018 for industrial doors & domestic garage doors.
DHF codes of practice are available for download in the technical specification section of the publications area of the
DHF website at www.dhfonline.org.uk.
The Machinery Directive – Standards
12. What are the appropriate standards for the Machinery Directive and other legislation compliance?
Automated doors, gates and traffic barriers intended primarily for vehicles, but which might also be encountered by
people, are covered by EN 12453 (BS EN 12453 in the UK and IS EN 12453 in the Republic of Ireland).
13. Are there any problems with the vehicle door, gate and traffic barrier standards?
Yes, in 2011, the UK Health and Safety Executive lodged a formal objection to EN 12453 and other associated standards;
this was renewed in 2014. In 2015, the European Commission responded by issuing a formal warning to industry that EN
12453 might not in all cases provide adequate levels of safety to achieve legal compliance. Manufacturers and others
relying on the standard were urged to re-visit their risk assessments to ensure that adequate safety was in fact in place.
To assist with this, DHF issued DHF TS 011:2016 to cover gates and barriers. We later updated the layout of the 2016
document and added a second document in 2018 (DHF TS 012) to cover industrial doors and domestic garage doors.
14. Is compliance with standards mandatory?
By the letter of the law, no, but the following points must be accommodated in order to achieve legal compliance:
A. Anything that can be considered a construction product (eg industrial doors and domestic garage doors) must comply
with the relevant harmonised standard when placed on the market, where one exists. The doors highlighted above
are covered by EN 13241 which is harmonised with the Construction Products Regulation and, hence, must comply
with the clauses listed in Annex ZA of the standard.
B. Safety legislation is generally performance setting in nature but not technically specific; in virtually all cases, the
technical detail on how to achieve compliance is left to standards. Very often, by the letter of the law, compliance
with a standard is voluntary but reaching or exceeding the levels of safety described in the appropriate standard is
not. For example, in the UK BS 7671 – IEE Wiring Regulations (currently 17th edition) is a standard; the Electricity at
Work Regulations and Building Regulations are the appropriate law. No one in the UK construction industry nor the
building management industry would consider BS 7671 compliance as being optional in practice; the same applies to
EN 12453 compliance for doors, gates and barriers.
C. Legal precedent in multiple door, gate and traffic barrier incident prosecutions has proven that using or failing to
use the appropriate standard has been central to the court deciding if reasonable and practical steps have been
taken to achieve legal compliance.
15. What are the main requirements of automated door, gate and traffic barrier standards?
EN 12453, either directly or indirectly via references to other standards, requires the following:
A. Structural integrity (also applies to manual doors, gates and barriers)
The structural design should be such that deformation, falling over and derailment are prevented by good structural
design and application of structural safety factors.
B. Fall back protection (also applies to manual doors)
Vertically moving doors must be protected against single fault failure in the balancing system such that falling back will
not occur if a spring, cable, chain or gear fails and that, following a failure, further use is prevented.
C. Moving parts
Hazards created by moving parts must be protected between ground and 2.5m above ground or any other permanent
access level (all reachable hazards) by:
− Safer design and shaping (the primary Machinery Directive requirement)
− Enclosures and guards, or
− Hold-to-run (trained users only, and then only where hazards are visible), or
− Limiting crushing force to 400N, reducing to 150N in 0.75s and to 25N in 5 seconds, and limiting horizontal impact
force to 1400N, reducing to 150N in 0.75s and to 25N in 5 seconds, or
− Use of light grid, laser scanner or similar technology to prevent all possible contact with hazardous movement
Note that point 4 usually needs to be supplemented by photo beams.
D. Control systems
Control systems and safety devices should be fail safe in nature and be of adequate integrity.
More detailed descriptions of the requirements and test methods can be found in section 1 of the relevant DHF COP –
16. Is force testing a legal requirement?
As standards feature so heavily in deciding if reasonable steps have been taken to provide legal levels of safety, testing
is invariably required to prove legal compliance. Of course, testing forces is only one small part of the equation and
many other checks and tests are needed to demonstrate adequate safety is achieved and continues to be maintained.
Whatever strategy has been employed to control moving parts hazard must be tested, eg:
− Measuring over-travel for hold to run
− Measuring forces for limitation of force
− Testing light grid or laser scanner coverage and response
− Testing electrical circuits
− Measuring guard and enclosure apertures and safety clearances
Past prosecutions of installation and maintenance companies and employees have centred on the lack of adequate
verification of safety measures, including force measurement.
The Machinery Directive Standards FAQs
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