Regulator issues safety warning about industrial gates

Monday, 28 August, 2023 - 12:30
Industry news
New South Wales

SafeWork NSW recently issued a safety reminder to owners and operators of industrial gates to get them checked following a number of serious incidents, including two fatalities.

While industrial gates are a great way to protect property at home or on worksites, they have the potential to be extremely dangerous if not properly maintained as they can weigh hundreds of kilograms.

A lack of maintenance can cause them to fall or become unhinged and cause serious injury or even death, according to SafeWork NSW.

In one incident, a 64-year-old worker died in 2020 after an electric industrial gate weighing nearly 260kg fell on him as he was trying to manually open it.

The gate and surrounding fencing had been damaged and was yet to be fully repaired.

From 2017 to 2022, there were 17 serious injuries to workers involving industrial gates, including two worker fatalities. The top cause of injuries from falling industrial gates is a fractured pelvis and a fractured vertebra.

SafeWork NSW said inspectors are checking industrial gates at construction, agricultural, transport and warehousing worksites.

Gates can breakdown for several reasons, such as damage to the gate leaf or support post, and/or wear and tear of the drive mechanism, stoppers, or rails.

Worn or broken stoppers can allow the gate to travel off the end of the track and fall, while broken support posts or guides can also allow a gate to fall.

When the drive mechanism is disconnected, some features on the gate may not work, including the anti-collision function, travel limiters and the gate speed control.

Furthermore, if the drive mechanism stops working, SafeWork NSW said to:

·       Only disconnect if it is safe to do so, and only so you can secure the gate.

·       Make sure the gate can be supported in its track by the posts and/or guides.

·       Secure the gate in an open or closed position, and have a competent person complete the repairs as soon as possible.

·       Put up a sign advising the gate is not working.

·       Don’t use the gate manually.


“It’s so important workers and members of the public are kept safe from falling industrial gates,” said Head of SafeWork NSW, Natasha Mann.

“If industrial gates are not regularly inspected and maintained, the risk of serious injury increases dramatically.

“Employers must pay specific attention to the condition of industrial gates in their workplace or face the consequences, which is a fine of up to $720 for individuals and up to $3600 for businesses whose gates pose a threat to the safety of workers and the community.

“Worse still would be if someone was injured or killed in a preventable incident due to your negligence.”