Firm in court after child dies in electric sliding gate
Two companies have been in court for serious safety failings after a five-year-old girl was crushed to death by an electric gate.
Five-year-old Karolina Golabek was playing nearby the gates of Brook Court in Bridgend, when they automatically closed after a car drove through.
She was rushed to hospital by a resident who found her trapped between the closing edge of the gate and the gate post, but later died as a result of her injuries.
An investigation into the incident found that the gate was inherently unsafe and posed a clear risk. At 2,000N, the closing force didn’t meet European and British safety standards, and was the equivalent of a force created by a weight of 440lbs.
Additionally there were safety issues surrounding the gate structure, which left a gap without any safety devices to detect a person in the area. The court heard that John Glen (Installation Services) Ltd had recently fitted a new electric motor to the gate, and had failed to test that the gate stopped when it met an obstruction.
The investigation also found that Tremorfa Limited, who was contracted to maintain the gate, had failed to carry out vital safety checks despite carrying out two maintenance visits.
What was the outcome?
John Glen (Installation Services) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 in costs.
Tremorfa Ltd was fined £50,000 with costs of £40,000 after pleading guilty to the same charge.
HSE Inspector, Stuart Charles, said:
“Karolina’s death has left her family devastated, and yet it
could so easily have been avoided.
“Both companies walked away from the gate leaving it in an unsafe condition.
Both could have prevented this tragedy.
“Automated gates are becoming more common and it’s sometimes difficult to
appreciate that even small gates can close with significant force.
Badly installed and maintained gates are a threat to all
pedestrians, but young children are particularly
vulnerable because they are often completely
unaware of the dangers.
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