Brian Sims

Electrical business fined €20,000 in wake of security officer’s death

AN ELECTRICAL company has been fined €20,000 (with prosecution costs of over €12,000) for failing to carry out necessary research on the rolling electric gate which fell and fatally injured a 44-year-old security officer who was on duty at the Navan Retail Park in County Meath, Ireland back in 2016.

The body of Victor Alonge was discovered underneath the rolling gate on the morning of 25 July 2016. He had been crushed to death by the one tonne gate after he tried to close it manually subsequent to the electric motor having failed.

In a hearing conducted at the Trim Circuit Court in February, E.E.S Enterprise Electrical Services of the Tallaght Business Centre pleaded guilty to failing to carry out necessary research on the gate or the manner in which it was erected to ensure its safety within the four months leading up to the tragedy.

Presiding Judge Terence O’Sullivan made not of the fact that the company was fully insured prior to the incident taking place before imposing the substantial fine of €20,000 and administering prosecution costs of over €12,000.

This tragic case once again highlights the importance of understanding the correct protocol for installing and maintaining an electrical gate and then adhering to what is now acknowledged as Best Practice in this area.

The gate in question failed to feature metal end stop plates, which would have prevented over travel and, ultimately, would have stopped the heavy structure from falling. In addition, a suitable slam end post would have also provided a back-up safety feature in the event of the gate leaving the sliding track.

Training on how to place an electric gate into manual operation – or back into fully automated mode – should always be included in the official handover of a completed installation. This should also, of course, be actionable without the risk of injury.

Additional cases

Commenting on the court case, Richard Jackson – founder of Gate Safe, the charity established in 2016 to promote an improved understanding of the legislation and standards pertaining to automated gates – explained: “Sadly, since this terrible accident occurred in 2016, we have been made aware of at least six further cases of falling gates causing significant injuries, including one death. In the year preceding this incident, there were an additional five accidents resulting in two fatalities.”

According to Jackson, the “dreadful outcome” in County Meath could so easily have been avoided had the gate been correctly installed and maintained. “In our view,” he told Security Matters, “this accident is yet another painful example of either ignorance or apathy, neither of which can be deemed as a valid or acceptable excuse. There is no degree of comfort here for the victim’s family.”

All automated gates and barriers should be installed and maintained by a trained and competent installer who has undergone the requisite training to understand the risks associated with these ‘machines’.

On that note, Jackson observed: “The correct training will result in an appreciation of the action required to overcome any issues jeopardising the safety of those using or assuming responsibility for opening and closing the gates. All installers – and their employers – have a Duty of Care to ensure that their training remains up-to-date. The fine imposed is nothing compared to the lifelong sentence that has been delivered to the victim’s loved ones.”

*For more information on Gate Safe training visit

Company Info

Security Matters

Western Business Media
Dorset House
64 High Street
East Grinstead
RH19 3DE

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