- November 12, 2018
- Posted by: Laura
In this day and age, automatic doors are the norm. They can be seen in shops, airports, businesses, cafes, and healthcare establishments… Practically everywhere. They are there to make our lives easier, especially the elderly and the disabled who require them the most. But what happens when they become more of a hazard than a useful tool for society?
If automatic doors are not installed correctly or regularly maintained, they can malfunction. In addition, if the right safety measures aren’t installed or serviced the doors at some point will cause harm.
It may not even necessarily be the installation that is the issue. It can also be that the door has been poorly maintained, not inspected on a regular basis, and have defective sensors or pieces. This can result not only in damage to property but may cause physical injury to unwary customers.
Injuries to the Hands and Wrists
Hands and wrists sprain and fractures are a common complaint following an automatic door accident. The upper extremities are the first line of defence from the impact caused by closing automatic doors. Therefore, the hands and the wrists receive a reasonable amount of pressure and get injured from this.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
Too much impact from abrupt closing of automatic doors may cause an individual to fall. Depending on how heavy the fall is, a person may obtain mild bruises on the lower part of the back and worse, may get a fractured spinal cord and dislocated discs.
One-fourth of the reported cases of spinal cord injuries are caused by falls. A significant percentage of these falls happen because of being hit by automatic doors.
Also, a direct blow to the back and the top part of the head can be reasons for back pains and injuries.
Parts of the face are also vulnerable to damages due to dysfunctional automatic doors. These power operated doors may hit on a person’s nose forcefully. Such powerful impact on a fragile body part like the nose may rupture its tissues. If bleeding, bruises, swelling, and difficulty breathing happens after the impact, the likelihood of a nose fracture is high.
Traumatic Brain Injury
The head is a delicate part of the body because it contains the brain. If an object strikes the head with a powerful impact, the brain may get deformed, traumatized and may not function as it should be.
Such brain injury can happen because the head is one body part that may initially be knocked by automatic doors.
An amputation is the removal of a limb or a part of the limb after being smashed. Impossible as it may seem, this is one of the most typical automatic door-related injury and more frequently, children under the age of four severely suffer from it.
In most cases, the fingers get amputated after being crushed by these power-operated doors.
Because of the increasing number of these accidents and injuries, automatic doors today are designed to be safer to use than before. Microwave, infrared, and a mixture of both are now being utilized to make sensors detect approaching individuals more accurately and react more rapidly to it. With this improvement, the public can now expect a more secure and protected environment.
If someone is injured in any of the above incidents, it is likely that a claim may be made against them to both the establishment and to the company who was to be maintaining the door to the correct legal standard, the BS EN16005.
This safety standard is part of the Machine Directive, a legal documentation that should be followed when installing and maintaining automatic doors. Should your company not adhere to these requirements, your business may be at stake due to the high cost that is to pay out to accident claims and legal fees.
What You Can Do
If you’re not wishing to risk the safety of the public, money or reputation, the best thing to do is to ensure all of your automatic door engineers are trained to the BS EN16005 as well as our other courses.
If your engineers have at least one year’s experience working with automatic doors they can complete the BS EN16005. Alternatively, if there are still requirements for automatic door knowledge to be developed, we recommend that candidates take our Service & Maintenance course.
Keep training, don’t take shortcuts, encourage constant team development. Keep doors safe!