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Power assisted door failures

By Kelly Homar

Published In: Personal Injury

We recently worked with a client who sustained injuries when the sensors on an electronic entrance door at their local gym failed. As a result, they were squashed between the two doors and despite managing to squeeze through them they injured their left hand.

Photo of a young woman entering a gym

The client needed medical treatment at the local hospital. Fortunately, despite being left with a scar, they made a good recovery from the injuries within a few months.

The gym disputed liability for the accident saying the doors were in full working order at the time. They said that the safety sensor mechanism would prevent the doors from closing if it sensed any movement within them.

Despite their stance, during the court proceedings, the defendant agreed an out of court settlement for our clients’ injuries and also his expenses and losses.

Safety regulations – who is responsible?

The gym had installed the electronic doors to prevent unauthorised access, but the failure of the sensor caused injury.

Regulation 7(1) of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 (SMR08) requires all machinery such as powered doors, gates and barriers to be safe. It’s the duty of the person responsible for the design, construction and placing on the market/putting into service of the machinery to ensure this. 

Others (such as the owners of premises (both residential and commercial), workplace managers, landlords and site occupiers) then have the ongoing responsibility  to keep the product safe through its lifetime of use.

Revised safety standards

Whilst our client was fortunate the injuries were not more severe, there were two child fatalities involving powered gates in 2010.

Following the fatalities, the HSE carried out a detailed examination of the  British/European standards available to support the design and construction of powered doors, gates, barriers etc. In 2017 they published two newly revised European Standards - BS EN 12453:2017 and BS EN 12604:2017.

These new standards replace older standards from 2000 and 2001 but they do not completely address the risks that may be present. Before installing power assisted doors, gates or barriers, owners of premises, workplace managers, landlords and site occupiers are advised to:

  • Undertake a risk assessment which considers the environment and the type of user
  • Consider the selection and implementation of appropriate design measures
  • Ensure appropriate levels of force limitation are below the specified maximum
  • Ensure that the safety function is monitored and checked before each movement (if the technology permits)
  • Ensure effective measures are in place to detect any means of failure

If you are considering installing power assisted doors, gates or barriers you can find further information on the HSE website .

If you have been injured by a power assisted door, gate or barrier, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our personal injury experts today for a no obligation chat about your options. Call 01302 320621 or email


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Kelly has over 15 years’ experience in the legal sector. She is a Senior Associate Chartered Legal Executive in the Personal Injury department.

Senior Associate Chartered Legal Executive

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