Understanding the Safety of Automatic Doors: Compliance with BSEN16005 and the Machinery Directive

In today’s world, automatic doors are a ubiquitous feature in various buildings and establishments, offering convenience and accessibility. However, with this convenience comes the responsibility of ensuring their safety. Compliance with standards like BSEN16005 and the Machinery Directive is not just a legal necessity but a crucial aspect of public safety.

The Importance of Safety in Automatic Doors

Automatic doors, often found in shopping centres, hospitals, and public buildings, are integral to smooth and efficient pedestrian traffic flow. Yet, their moving parts and mechanisms pose potential risks, such as trapping or striking individuals. This is where safety standards become paramount.

Automatic doors, while convenient and often essential in public and commercial spaces, carry certain risks that must be effectively managed. These risks primarily involve the potential for injury or malfunction. Here are the key risks associated with automatic doors:

  1. Entrapment and Impact Injuries: One of the most common risks is the door closing on a person or an object. This can occur if sensors fail to detect a person in the doorway or if the door’s timing mechanisms are incorrectly calibrated.

  2. Malfunctioning Sensors: Sensors that are either faulty or improperly adjusted might not detect people or objects accurately, leading to the door closing prematurely or not opening when necessary.

  3. Mechanical Failures: Components like rollers, tracks, or motors can fail due to wear and tear or lack of maintenance, potentially causing the door to stick, fail to open, or even detach.

  4. Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards: These risks can occur, particularly in adverse weather conditions, if moisture or debris is brought into the entrance area by the movement of the doors.

  5. Power Failures: During a power outage, automatic doors may fail to open or close, posing a significant issue in emergency situations if the doors do not switch to manual operation mode or have a backup power source.

  6. Unauthorized Access: Insecure automatic doors can be a security risk, especially if they fail to close properly or can be easily forced open, potentially allowing unauthorised access to a building.

  7. Over-Reliance on Technology: There can be a tendency to rely solely on the automatic function of the doors, leading to reduced vigilance in monitoring their safe operation and maintenance.

  8. Inadequate Safety Features: Lack of appropriate safety features like sensors, safety beams, or proper signage can increase the risk of accidents.

  9. Interference with Emergency Evacuation: In some cases, automatic doors can hinder emergency evacuation if they fail to open promptly or if evacuation procedures are not adequately adapted to their presence.

To mitigate these risks, regular maintenance, proper installation and calibration, adherence to the BSEN16005, and training of personnel in safe operation and emergency procedures are crucial.

BSEN16005: The Safety Benchmark

BSEN16005, established by the British Standards Institution (BSI), specifically addresses the safety of automatic doors for pedestrian use. It outlines requirements and test methods to minimise hazards during the operation of these doors. Adhering to BSEN16005 ensures that automatic doors function within the parameters of safety, thereby protecting users from accidents.

Key Aspects of BSEN16005

  1. Risk Assessment: Identifying and evaluating potential hazards in the operation of automatic doors.
  2. Safety Features: Implementation of features such as sensors and safe opening/closing speeds to prevent accidents.
  3. Maintenance and Inspection: Regular checks to ensure ongoing compliance and safety.

The Machinery Directive: A Broader Safety Framework

The Machinery Directive, a European Union regulation, provides a broader framework for the safety of machinery, including automatic doors. It mandates that equipment must be designed and constructed to operate safely. Under this directive, automatic doors must comply with essential health and safety requirements, undergo appropriate conformity assessment procedures, and carry the CE marking.

Why Compliance Matters

Compliance with BSEN16005 and the Machinery Directive is not just about adhering to legal requirements; it’s about prioritising the safety and well-being of the public. Non-compliance can lead to serious accidents and legal repercussions for businesses and building managers.

The safety of automatic doors is an aspect that should never be overlooked. Compliance with BSEN16005 and the Machinery Directive ensures that these everyday conveniences do not become hazards. It’s a collective responsibility for manufacturers, installers, and building operators to uphold these standards and ensure a safe environment for all users. The ADIA offer members the BS EN16005 accredited by City & Guilds as well as a range of other courses to ensure engineers are adhering to the necessary standards.