Garage Doors and Gates
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The UL 325 standard is voluntary, Hetzel noted, although its provisions could carry the weight of law if they are mandated by a state, local or federal government. (Such action was recently taken by the state of Nevada.)
The standards which took effect on March 1 required substantial redesigning and retesting by gate operator manufacturers, he noted.
The primary intent of the new standards is to prevent entrapment of persons in automated gate systems, as well as preventing injuries from pinch points.
It was noted that UL 325 does not affect gate systems installed before the standards took effect; in other words, it is not retroactive.
Addressing the dealers, Buchanan noted: "Don't think this (UL 325) is just a problem for the manufacturers. If you think it is not an issue for the dealers, I hope I get your attention before some lawyer does."
Buchanan noted that for liability purposes, installers should do nothing that would imply that pedestrians are allowed through vehicular gates.
"UL 325 is not concerned about the gate contacting vehicles, only the entrapment of people," he said. Contact prevention devices are certainly still part of the overall gate system, he said, but they are not the only safety device called for.
A good point was made by DeNault, who noted that the issue of safety could give a dealer a good excuse to call on the owners of older systems and inform them that their systems should be safety upgraded to meet the new standards.
The panel distributed a set of documents which set out the terms of UL 325, and explained how they affect dealers.
Among the points made were:
1. The gate operator manufacturer will state the class of each operator in multiple places.
2. Sales personnel must match the site application with the correct class of operator.
3. Primary and secondary safety devices must be provided and matched to the operator.
4. Waivers of safety or by-passing of safety devices is not an option.
5. Responsibility for U.L. safety standards does pass to the dealer-installer.
6. Warning signs must be permanently affixed to the gate panel. (It is suggested that the installing dealer take a dated photo of the gate system with the signs in place to prove that he furnished them. . It is suggested that the dealer develop an installation checklist and customer sign-off form.
8. Service/preventive maintenance contracts will be in demand by the customers, and are good for the dealers when they ensure safe and proper operation of the system.
9. U.L. is still considering establishing a training or certification program for installers, possibly with the involvement of AFA and other organizations.
10. UL 325 currently does not address what happens to older gate operators in the future.
Here are some installation instructions mandated under UL 325:
Install the operator only when:
• The operator is appropriate for the construction of the gate and the usage class of the gate;
• All openings of a horizontal slide gate are guarded or screened from the bottom of the gate to a minimum of 4 feet (1.2 m) above the ground to prevent a 2-1/4 inch (57.15 mm) diameter sphere from passing through the openings anywhere in the gate, and in that portion of the adjacent fence that the gate covers in the open position;
• All exposed pinch points are eliminated or guarded, and
• Guarding is supplied for exposed rollers.
The operator is intended for installation only on gates used for vehicles. Pedestrians must be supplied with a separate access opening.
The gate must be installed in a location so that enough clearance is supplied between the gate and adjacent structures when opening and closing to reduce the risk of entrapment.
Swing gates shall not open into public access areas.
The gate must be properly installed and work freely in both directions prior to the installation of the gate operator.
Do not over-tighten the operator clutch or pressure relief valve to compensate for a damaged gate.
For operators utilizing Type D protection (manual activation of the device with the unit stopping when the button is released):
• The gate operator controls must be placed so that the user has a full view of the gate area when the gate is moving;
• The required placard shall be placed adjacent to the controls;
• An automatic closing device (such as a timer, loop sensor, or similar device) shall not be employed; and
• No other activation device shall be connected.
Controls must be far enough from the gate so that the gate system user is prevented from coming in contact with the gate while he or she is operating the controls.
Controls intended to be used to reset an operator after two sequential activations of the entrapment protection device or devices must be located in the line-of-sight of the gate.
Outdoor or easily accessible controls shall have a security feature to prevent unauthorized use.
All warning signs and placards must be installed where visible in the area of the gate.
For gate operators utilizing a non-contact sensor:
• Review instructions on the placement of non-contact sensors for each type of application;
• Care shall be exercised to reduce the risk of nuisance tripping, such as when a vehicle trips the sensor while the gate is still moving; and
• One or more non-contact sensors shall be located where the risk of entrapment or obstruction exists, such as the perimeter reachable by a moving gate or barrier.
Here are some special points made by the panel which were extracted from UL 325:
• Class I and Class II operators must have an audio alarm which shall function if two sequential activations of the entrapment protection device occur.
• Class I and Class II gate operators cannot exceed a speed of one foot per second.
(Class I operators are residential vehicular gate operators intended for use in a home of one to four single family dwellings, or a garage or parking area associated with such a dwelling. Class II operators are commercial and general access vehicular operators intended for use in a commercial location or building such as multi-family housing units, hotels, garages, retail stores, or other buildings servicing the general public.)
• In most conditions, an obstruction must be sensed within a maximum of two seconds. The gate operator shall stop and reverse a minimum of two inches.
• The system must stop the gate upon sensing a second sequential obstruction, and then not operate until an intended input is received (not by a timer to close).
• Slide gates must have a protective cover from the ground up to four feet.
• Swing gates must not exert more than 40 pounds of force after initial start-up.
Other classes of operators identified in UL 325 include:
Class III - Industrial/limited access vehicular gate operator
A vehicular gate operator or system intended for use in an industrial location or building such as a factory or loading dock area or other locations not intended to service the general public.
Class IV - Restricted access vehicular gate operator
A vehicular gate operator or system intended for use in a guarded industrial location or building such as an airport security area or other restricted access location not servicing the general public, in which unauthorized access is prevented via supervision by security personnel.
It was also noted that movement is underway to develop voluntary standards for the safe design and installation of the overall gate system.
The information presented here is in no way intended nor should be relied upon as legal advice. Installing dealers must always consult with the appropriate professional advisors when undertaking an installation.

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