A powered gate company has been fined £50,000 for corporate manslaughter following the horrific death of a child who was crushed to death outside her Moss Side, Manchester home in 2010, by an unsafe automatic gate. The sentence was passed at Manchester Crown Court on Monday 7th December.
Cheshire Gates and Automation Ltd had admitted corporate manslaughter over the death of six-year-old Semelia Campbell at an earlier court hearing and heard she had become caught between the heavy sliding gate and a wall outside her home. The moving gate had failed to detect her presence and she became trapped. She was crushed to death despite frantic attempts by her family to free her, the court heard.
In a statement released immediately following the court hearing, the Door & Hardware Federation, which represents the powered gate industry, explained that, tragically, this is not an isolated case.
Neil Sampson, chairman of the DHF Powered Gate Group said: “In the past ten years, there have been seven deaths in the UK and Ireland, at least nine serious injuries and countless near misses caused by dangerous powered gates. Shockingly, it is estimated that 70% of the 500,000 automated gates in service in the UK are unsafe to use.
“In this heart-breaking case, the court was told that when the gate had been originally installed it had been left in a completely unsafe and lethal state. Semelia’s death is a bleak reminder of the dangerous consequences if a powered gate is incorrectly specified, installed or inadequately maintained. The company did not even know how to set the gate up to a safe standard!
“As an industry we are determined to ensure that tragedies like this can NEVER happen again and in the five years since this appalling incident, we have made giant strides forward in raising awareness amongst all those responsible for powered gates regarding safety legislation and providing comprehensive advice and guidance. In the last two years alone, the DHF has trained more than 600 individuals on its two-day comprehensive Safety Assured training course. Owners and managers of any automated entrance systems need to be aware that the safety of their site is their responsibility.”
To gain comprehensive advice on powered gate safety, or to obtain a full list of DHF Safety Assured member companies visit www.dhfonline.org.uk.
In addition, the DHF is presently running a petition to raise awareness of the responsibilities of owners of powered gates visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/109917.