HSE investigates electronic gate deaths

The recent tragic deaths of children in Moss Side and Bridgend have prompted a review of electronic gates by the Health and Safety Executive.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched investigations into both of the recent child deaths caused by electronic gates. The children were killed in separate incidents, one in Moss Side in Manchester, and one in Bridgend in Wales. The accidents have prompted calls for a review of electronic gates, and for landlords and housing associations to ensure that gates protecting their properties have adequate safety features installed.

What happened?

Moss Side

6 year old Semelia Campbell died on 28th June after getting trapped in the electronic gates at the entrance to a block of flats. According to Campbell’s mother, she was playing with a friend near the gates, which had been left unsecured. As the girl played, the gates began closing automatically, and she was trapped between the gate and a brick post. Police called to the scene rushed her to Manchester Royal Infirmary but she died from her injuries soon after arriving at the hospital.

Bridgend

Karolina Gobalek was trapped in a set of electronic gates on 3rd July in Bridgend in Wales. The gate was a sliding gate, which separated the resident’s car park from the road. She is believed to have been playing on her own when the gate was activated. The gate is activated by a keypad, and police are investigating whether the gate was opened by a resident or whether Karolina managed to accidentally open the gate on her own.

HSE investigation

The HSE are helping the police with their investigations in both areas, and they have also called for residents to raise concerns about safety gates elsewhere. A spokesman from the HSE said: "Should anyone have any concerns about electric gates on their housing development, they should speak to their management company or their installer. They have a duty to ensure the gates will stop safely, should they be obstructed."

For those involved in the installation or construction of the gates, or for landlords who have properties that make use of electronic gates, the HSE has released a safety notice.

Safety notice from HSE – electronic gates

Updated June 2011