The last few months have acted as a serious wake-up call to homeowners across the UK with roller shutters and garage doors. High-profile stories and viral videos about near-misses and unfortunate accidents have left people wondering whether their steel / sectional garage doors are as safe as they thought. The fact is, despite their intelligent design and reliability, all garage doors and roller shutters can be dangerous. Whether your home is equipped with an electrical garage door or a manual design, operating the door safely is extremely important.
There have been several instances of people becoming injured and, unfortunately, losing their lives due to unsafe use of garage doors. If you’ve ever accidently closed a steel garage door on anything, you’ll know just how dangerous they can be. Even lightweight garage doors can cause serious damage if used unsafely. Fortunately, there are just as many stories of accidents being avoided due to quick-thinking.
Social Worker Killed by Automatic Garage Door
The story recently broke that, in August 2016, a 40-year-old social worker was killed by an automatic garage door. This automatic roller shutter garage door had been vandalised and repaired many times over the years. Heidi Chalkley reportedly asked her friend: “Have you ever held on to it as it goes up?”
Her friend and fellow social worker then watched as Heidi grabbed hold of the shutters as they rose. As automatic garage doors are powerful mechanisms, the door didn’t slow. Heidi’s hands became caught on the barrier of the door and the shutter continued to pull her in. A nearby male witness rushed to help and attempted to remove the trapped woman’s head from the shutting mechanism.
When paramedics arrived, Ms Chalkley was pronounced dead at the scene. Later, a post-mortem examination concluded that the social worker had suffered severe fractures across her upper body, including ribs, spine and arms. The cause of death was later confirmed as being multiple injuries.
Later, a Health and Safety Inspector from the HSE told jurors that the gate has been previously damaged and repaired. However, this did not cause the door itself to become unsafe.
What Can We Learn from Automatic Garage Door Accidents?
The tragic case of Heidi Chalkley should act as a stark warning to anyone who regularly uses an automatic garage door. Whether you have one at home, or use a roller shutter at work every day, you need to be aware that these mechanisms can be dangerous. It is easy to become relaxed on safety when you interact with something every day. However, you should always keep in mind that automatic garage doors can be extremely dangerous.
Mum of Two Saves Child from Rising Garage Door
On a brighter note, a recent viral video showed a mum of two saving her daughter from getting injured by the garage door. Returning from a walk with her two children and family dog, she started to open her garage door. While the door is opening, she turns back to remove her restless baby from her pram.
However, while she’s unbuckling her child, her daughter grabs hold of the opening garage door. The door continued to open, lifting the small girl into the air. The CCTV video of the event shows the small girl not realising her danger and clearly enjoying the ride. Thanks to the sectional garage door design, the girl isn’t carried into the mechanism in the same way as Ms Chalkley.
Instead, she’s left hanging for little more than a second before the eagle-eyed mum rushes over to catch her. While sectional garage doors for homes are less dangerous, the girl could seriously have been hurt if she had let go at the top and landed on the concrete below. Fortunately, the mum managed to catch her before she fell, while still carrying her other baby!
The Importance of Automatic Garage Door Safety
It is extremely important that you take care when operating garage doors of any kind. Due to their weight and size, even manual garage doors can be dangerous if you don’t take care. They can seriously damage your property and can even be life-threatening in some circumstances. If you want to avoid any kind of accident, you need to make sure that you and your family/employees follow the best safety procedures.
How To Stay Safe with Automatic and Manual Garage Doors?
To stay safe with garage doors, you need to make sure:
1 – The Door Has the Right Clearance Space – One of the biggest problems for all kinds of garage doors and roller shutters is that they aren’t given the space they need. Some designs, such as sectional garage doors, require little in the way of clearance space. You should mark where the garage door closes on the floor and where it reaches to when open fully.
2 – You Keep an Eye on Friends, Family and Employees During Operation – It is essential, particularly if you have younger children, that you keep a close watch on them while using a garage door. Even a manual roller shutter can case serious injury if your child becomes trapped under it. In the past, we’ve seen children trying to race under closing doors like Indiana Jones – while it looks fun, it is incredibly dangerous.
It isn’t always possible to keep an eye on the door itself, particularly if you’re busy with other things. In these cases, it can be a good idea to install CCTV cameras to watch the door’s opening and closing. That way, if anyone does use the garage door unsafely when you aren’t there, you can call them out on it.
3 – You Choose the Right Garage Door for You – In many cases, people choose the wrong kind of garage door or roller shutter for their property. There are many difference designs and each one has different benefits and disadvantages. Just some of the manual and automatic garage door styles you might choose include:
For Safe Sectional Garage Doors and Automatic Roller Shutters, Call CBL Garage Doors Today
Here at CBL Garage Doors, we can provide a complete range of garage doors and roller shutters to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking to equip your home or business with a safe and reliable garage door, we are here for you. Our team can offer advice on the right door and ensure it is installed professionally.
For more information, don’t hesitate to call our experienced team today. You can reach the CBL Garage Doors’ experts by calling us directly on 0800 0542 500. If you prefer, you can also send any questions or concerns through our simple online contact form. Our installation experts and engineers are available in Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft to suit your needs.