By Shelby Kelland, LiftMaster, Tucson, AZ
Hey there, guys and gals! It’s Shelby here to talk about gate safety. When we go out to install a gate operator or even maintenance an existing gate operator, it is best practice to bring the site to compliance with current UL325 & ASTM F2200 safety standards. It can be easy to fall into the rabbit-hole of all the details and become overwhelmed with the standards as well as feel intimidated when someone mentions liability. Unfortunately, ignoring liability does not get rid of it. The best thing to do for any gate operator installer or technician is to get educated on the topic, make sense of it all, and understand how to reduce liability.
Here’s a high-level breakdown of what you should keep an eye out for and a general sketch of how it all works. Be sure to comment if I missed anything (there’s a lot to cover) or if you have a better way of explaining it (we’re all ears). It takes a village to fully understand and abide by our industry safety standards on a regular basis, but the first step is to ensure you fully understand how this all works. It’s really a lifestyle choice for yourself and your company as professionals in our industry.
*Disclaimer: This blog post was written with the intent of educating and normalizing conversations about safety within our industry. This blog post is not intended to be used as official UL325 or ASTM F2200 reference in the field. You can contact UL directly and pay to obtain an official copy of the current standards.
UL325 VS ASTM F2200
Most people think these two safety standards are one and the same – they are not. They complement each other but are very much different.
- UL325 is the safety standard for gate operators and systems. This standard is concerned with protecting people regarding the gate operator and systems.
- ASTM F2200 is the standard for automated vehicular gate construction. This standard is concerned with protecting people regarding the gate construction and fabrication when intending to automate.
Notice this does not mention property. UL325 is not intended to protect your vehicle which is why loops are never sufficient entrapment protection.
Manufacturer Standards VS Installer and/or Technician Standards
First, we must understand there are manufacturer safety standards and then there are installer and/or technician safety standards. For a manufacturer to be UL listed, they need to include an inherent sensor with the operator and require the input of monitored entrapment devices to operate a slide or swing gate operator. Barrier gate operators are an exclusion (see below). This does not mean slap the required amount of entrapment protection onto the gate operator and call it a day. This means you must install the minimum amount of monitored entrapment protection to run the system. However, if there are any additional entrapment zones they must be protected as well. It is the manufacturers job to ensure the system sees a fault with an entrapment device whether it be by breaking the beam or by having a disconnected wire therefore these inputs are now monitored (safer). It is the installer/technician’s job to ensure all the entrapment zones are protected. It is the work from both parties that save lives – not just one. Most people do not understand our world. They do not know how unsafe an automated slide gate can be. It’s our jobs as experts to protect them.
Definition of an Entrapment Zone
Per the UL325 and ASTM F2200 standards a stationary object within 16” of a moving gate is an entrapment zone.
In practical applications almost every slide gate has more than 2 entrapment zones. The manufacturer will require 2 monitored entrapment devices for slide gate operators, however every entrapment zone needs to be protected by the installer to be UL325 compliant.
Barrier gate operators do not have an entrapment zone unless there is a stationary object within 16” of the moving gate arm. Traditionally, you won’t see this. However, it is possible. Upon this event, one must protect the entrapment zone per UL325.
While we’re on the topic of barrier arm safety, it is also very dangerous to use an eye as a close command to a barrier gate. Unfortunately, this is far too common. There are many other safer options out there. Most injuries on barrier gates come from this type of mishap with accessory installation. Refer to manufacturer for a better recommendation.
Installation of a Current Operator VS Maintaining an Existing Operator
By the book, when installing a new gate operator, the site must be brought into UL325 & ASTM F2200 safety compliance, no excuses. Also understand the gate fabrication has a lot to do with how many entrapment zones there will be. If entering a job with a blank canvas, be sure to thoroughly look over these standards to ensure the least amount of entrapment zones possible.
On the contrary, when we are working on an existing gate operator it is best practice to bring this site into compliance, but not always feasible. Make your best effort to go through a safety checklist (see below), document your efforts and educate the customer. It will not always be approved by the customer to update an existing site, but document, document, document. The least we can do is educate the customer and note it down officially that we brought it to the customer’s attention and made our best attempt to update the site.
DASMA provides a free technical data sheet on their website. Many manufacturers have safety checklists available. These checklists go over UL325 safety standards as well as ASTM F2200 safety standards. Two birds, one stone and it couldn’t be more efficient. These guys want us to be safe. Reach out to your local sales representative for whatever brand you prefer and inquire about their safety checklist or simply scroll through DASMA’s website. Be sure to use the safety checklist on every installation and maintenance check. You sign, have the customer sign it, take photos, and file it away. Document, document, document. Better safe than sorry, guys and gals. I do this on every site I visit, and it has proven very helpful.
Example: DASMA Technical Data Sheet
UL325 Heavy Hitters
|Gate operator should be approved to current UL325 standards|
|Proper warning signs visible to both sides of the area|
|Each entrapment zone protected by monitored safety device|
ASTM F2200 Heavy Hitters
|Gates have smooth bottom edges, no protrusions|
|All access controls at least 6 ft from gate|
|Barbed tape at least 8ft above grade on moving gate|
|Barbed wire at least 6ft above grade on moving gate|
|Separate pedestrian gate – out of reach of moving gate|
The standard states within proximity of the gate
|Gates prevented from falling more than 45 degrees if disconnected from supporting hardware|
|Distance from pivot point to column edge is less than 4” or in compliance with UL325|
|Distance from open gate to wall or column greater than 16” or protected or in compliance with UL325|
|Roller covers on wheels below 8” above grade|
|Mesh installed up to 6ft above grade if picket space equal to or greater than 2.25” apart|
|Gate does not move on its own if disconnected from operator|
|Gap between gate and fence post less than 2.25” UL325 states anything less than 16” constitutes an entrapment area|
|Positive stops at both fully open and fully closed positions|
|Receiver guides recessed behind receiver post for guides less than 8ft above grade|
Fence Training School, NAFCA
Manufacturer Training Schools, Contact your local sales representative for inquiries
NAFCA – North American Fence Contractors AssociationDASMA – Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association
NOMMA – The National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association
UL – Underwriters Laboratories
ASTM – American Society of Testing and Materials
BY SHELBY KELLAND
Shelby is a stickler for safety
and is determined to bring
sites into compliance.