Safety tips

Porte e portoni

A new kind of safety: prevention.

Safety in the workplace is currently a very hot topic due to the introduction of the long-awaited guidelines and the necessity of companies to ensure safety in the workplace; firms are now obliged to create fail-safe security systems. But what if accidents could be prevented?
Since the beginning of 2007, the revision for the ASA-directive – which specifies how systematic prevention can be achieved and how safety systems can be set-up in companies – is in force. ASA also prescribes the inclusion of workplace doctors and all other specialists in the field of workplace safety.
This norm aims to prevent accidents and/or work-related illnesses through the implementation of a systematic procedure, thus avoiding suffering, costs and work interruptions.

What it means to be a specialist in the field of workplace safety 
Michele Matis, General Director at Marcmetal, is also an expert on safety with a consulting mandate: this means that he has acquired the proven expertise that allows him to offer a consulting service to companies according to their specific characteristics and the particular risks that they could face.

The advantages of a having a safety expert in a company 
The safety specialist can help the clients of the company who do not possess the know-how and expertise that could be useful when building a custom-made safety system. The expert is also able to systematically locate potential dangers, evaluate the related risks, establish suitable protection measures, design a custom-made safety system and, last but not least, ensure that the latter will be maintained correctly.

According to the law, every employer is forced to pinpoint the dangers within the company and adopt essential approaches and measures for protection. The new ASA method goes in fact even further, being not only able to efficiently eliminate all security issues within a company, but it also focuses on how companies can prevent these flaws from occurring again in the future, while still considering them as a whole. The ASA safety system, together with the safety experts, can guarantee that prevention will last.


Doors and gates

Close the door to risks 
Doors and gates can cause accidents on a regular base. From crushed fingers to fractures or even worse, almost every one of these accidents can be prevented. With an advanced and up-to-date automatic system, which undergoes maintenance by specialists, potential accidents can be reduced significantly. If potential dangers and flaws are identified, necessary precautionary measures can be taken.

02_portAccording to the law
According to the federal law about the safety of products (a.k.a. LSPro), doors and gates can only be sold if they do not represent a risk when used in a standard or reasonably foreseeable way, or if the potential dangers are only minimal for the safety and health of their users or that of third parties.

Motor-driven automatic gates have to satisfy the safety and health regulations of the machine directive (UE n. 98/37 directive of June the 22nd, 1998; from December the 29th, 2009: n. 2006/42/CE). The requirements for elevator doors are specified in the European regulations EN 81-1 and EN 81-2.

Doors and gates for which the Federal Council has not specified any binding norms about safety and health have to be produced according to the state of the art. It is therefore suggested to write: “The products must satisfy the legal requirements, especially the technical directives and norms”, when ordering doors and/or gates.

According to the codex of obligations, the owner of a building has to refund any damage caused by construction or maintenance fault. S/he is also responsible for the damage caused by flaws. A flaw occurs whenever the configuration and functionality are not safe, for example when illumination is insufficient or because of dangerous conditions (i.e. risk of stumbling). The owner’s responsibility regarding an endeavor is causal; the owner’s guilt regarding the endeavor does not represent a prerequisite of the responsibility.

Emergency measures
If a person, an animal or an object is trapped; disconnecting the electricity supply is the first thing to do. Therefore, a safety switch or an isolator, which allow the electricity flow to be stopped, have to be installed in immediate proximity, or it should be at least possible to suspend the electrical circuit by disconnecting the plug from the socket. The switch has to be labeled conspicuously and safeguarded by a padlock during maintenance. It should also be possible to activate doors and gates that are blocked with a force below 150 Newtons (15 kg). The disengaging mechanism should be clearly visible (for example by using the following sticker) and its activation should be described in an understandable way.


The sticker 2.008 «Release the mechanism » (25×3 cm) can be ordered


If expert personnel do not keep it under maintenance, every automatic door will, sooner or later, become a potential risk for the safety of all persons passing through the door. We therefore advise drawing up a maintenance agreement with a specialized company and to keep track in a journal of every event of service and repair.


Door and gate types   
TypeUsageTo consider
Shutter doors and gatesPorte e portoni a battenti•Homes
•External areas of properties
• Escape doors
• Fire doors
• Gates for enclosures
• Opening direction
• Power cuts
• Transition areas
• Integrated electronic safeguards for service doors and escape ways
• Crushing points along the joints
Sliding doors and gatesPorte e portoni scorrevoli• Elevator doors
• Shops (glass doors)
• Entrance halls
• Industrial gates
• Gates for enclosures
• Frequency of usage
• Free spaces
• Crushing points
• Sliding rooms
• Power cuts
• Escape routes
Folding doors and sliding folding doorsPortoni a libro e a libro scorrevoli• Industrial gates
• Elevator and vehicle doors
• Multistory car parks
• Crushing danger in folding point
• Crushing danger for fingers between the cracks of the door
• Power cuts
• Escape routes
Up and over doors Portoni basculanti• Garage doors• Many crushing points
• Children
• Lateral access
• Door and counterweights could fall
• Power cuts
• Escape routes
Non overflowing up and over doorsPortoni basculanti non debordanti• Gym apparatus storage rooms
• Garage doors
• Space is necessary for the swinging movement
• Door and counterweights could fall
• Power cuts
• Apparatus storage room: a min. 8 cm elastic seal along the main closing border
Sectional doorsPortoni sezionali• Garage doors • Door could fall
• Service doors and escape ways
• Power cuts
Cylindrical doors and revolving doorsPorte a cilindro e porte girevoli• Shops
• Entrance halls
• Wheelchairs
• Disabled persons
• Frequency of usage
• Sliding rooms
• Power cuts
• Escape routes
Roll up and rolling shutter doorsPortoni avvolgibili e saracinesche• Garage
• Anti-theft protection
• Crushing points
• Danger of falling
• Power cuts
• Escape routes


Dangerous points and places and precautionary measures

Distanze che consentono di evitare schiacciamenti (in mm)

Safe distances to avoid crushing (in mm)

Crushing points

In most accidents that involve doors and gates, a person gets stuck. It is therefore important to avoid potential crushing points between the object and the surrounding environment already during design. In order to keep body parts which might be at risk safe, the specified minimum distances have to be maintained. If several different body parts may be at risk, it is the greater minimum distance that ought to be maintained.



General safety measures

General safety measures

Safety measures

Considering the example of a sliding door; through the following measures the risk of getting stuck during the opening or closing of the doors can be minimized.

 1 – Sensor-equipped devices that stop the power supply: when activated, the contact outlines or pads (the outer layers) should block the electricity circuit, thus blocking the doors before they hit the obstacle. The so-called air pressure switch (or wave switch) can only be used if it is allowed for the protecting of people.

2 – Closing edges should be safeguarded with deformable material: in order to avoid that fingers get crushed, the safety profile of closing edges should give way for at least 25 mm.

3 – No-contact devices: the photoelectric barriers and the infrared or ultrasound movement detectors should be positioned so that they can block the movement of the door before it hits the obstacle. In general, they are installed as auxiliary safety devices.

4 – Limit force and energy: the pushing force of the door should not exceed 400 N during a period of 0.75 seconds. This value should be verified on a regular basis.


Grip placement

Grip placement

Grips and handles:

In order to avoid potential crushing points for grips and handles, the following minimum measures should be adopted (end position of the shutter):






Safety measures for the lateral closing border

Safety measures for the lateral closing border

Special safety measures for swinging doors

The crushing points of shutter doors lay between the shutter and the pillar (hose clamp or hinge side) and they can become a serious threat to small children. Therefore, in kindergartens and primary schools, it would be best if they were always safeguarded, for example by applying the following measures:

  • Distance between the shutter and fixed part should not exceed 25 mm;
  • Auto closing spring should be integrated in order to block the door;
  • Crushing point should have a covering (see schematics).






Crushing points in up and over doors

Crushing points in up and over doors

Special safety measures for up and over doors

Anti-crushing devices should not only be effective at the height of the trunk or at the height of the top of a vehicle, but also at a height of 12 cm, where they could be a threat to small children. Lateral crushing points should be safeguarded as well.

In addition to the danger of crushing, the danger of the door or counterweights falling down should also be considered. There are special recovery devices for this kind of doors.

The contact outlines should be positioned in a geometric way in order to protect the entire movement space of the door. Usually they are positioned underneath the main closing edge of the door, with an angle of 30°–60°.




Contact outline on the lower part of an up and over door

Contact outline on the lower part of an up and over door










Crushing points of sliding doors

Crushing points of sliding doors

Special safety measures for sliding doors and gates

In general, the closing edges of sliding doors and gates are safeguarded well. The lateral closing edges of doors with an uneven surface (with panels, service doors) often harbor risks. People could be crushed in a free space between the surface of the wall and the surface of the door, which is bigger than 8 mm. The sensors of automatic sliding doors should also detect the movement of a person that gets closer to the door while walking along the wall.

Enough space has to be considered for the opening of the door. Sliding folding doors should have anti-crushing devices where the shutters fold up, especially between the folding part and the wall.



Crushing points of folding doors

Crushing points of folding doors

Special safety measures for revolving doors

Revolving doors are generally installed in well-frequented places. A flawed model could be a source of danger especially to children and elderly people. Older models should have safety components in order to satisfy current technical standards and to respect the norms and directives that are currently in force. To discover more, you may refer to the DIN 186501/2 regulations.

Internal shock absorbents
If the diameter is greater than 3 m, the revolving door must have a shock absorbent on the inner side, so that it will stop before hitting a person.

Emergency lock
The revolving doors of (internal) entrance areas should have safety switches (emergency locks) which, when activated, stop the door immediately. The door will revolve again only when the emergency switch is unlocked.

Switches that reduce speed
In order to allow disabled people to use revolving doors without any risk, revolving doors should have switches that reduce the speed on both sides. By activating the switch, the speed is significantly reduced for at least one complete turn. If there is an additional door available to the public, this measure is not necessary.

Contact outlines 
Revolving doors have many contact outlines made of supple rubber. Potential external damage should be assessed. Moreover, revolving doors should stop when the contact outlines of both the fixed and the revolving edges are crushed. Be careful: in order to avoid any accident, tests should not be performed where the main and lateral closing edges touch!


Live safely. Your bfu.

The bfu is committed to safety on behalf of all in society. As the Swiss Competence Centre for Accident Prevention it conducts research in the following sectors: road traffic, sport, home and leisure and passes on its knowledge to private people and specialist circles by means of consultancy, training sessions and communications. More information can be found on the website

Additional information
Bfu suggests to also read the following publications (available in German, French and Italian):

2.003  Geländer und Brüstungen (technical pamphlet)
2.006  Glas in der Architektur (technical pamphlet)
2.007  Treppen (technical pamphlet)
2.027 Bodenbeläge (documentation)
2.032 Bodenbeläge (list of requirements)
2.034  Sicherheit im Wohnungsbau, Vorschriften der Schweizer Kantone und des Fürstentums Liechtenstein zur baulichen Gestaltung von Geländern, Brüstungen und Treppen (documentation)
Maschinenrichtlinie (i.e. “Machine policies”) 2006 / 42 / EG
sia-Norm 343.112, November 2000, Tore –
Mechanische Aspekte – Anforderungen (i.e. “Gates – Mechanical aspects – Requirements”)
(SN EN 12604:2000)
sia-Norm 343.110, June 2001, Nutzungssicherheit kraftbetätigter Tore – Anforderungen (i.e. “Safe usage of gates that employ force – Requirements”) (EN 12453)
SN EN 12445:2001, Nutzungssicherheit kraftbetätigter Tore – Prüfverfahren  (i.e. “Safe usage of gates that employ force – Testing method”)
Europäische Norm EN 12635:2002, Tore –  Einbau und Nutzung (i.e. “Gates – Installation and usage”)
SN EN 349, Mindestabstände zur Vermeidung  des Quetschens von Körperteilen (i.e. “Minimum space to avoid crushing of body parts”)
DIN-Norm 18650-1  2:2005, Automatische Türsysteme (i.e. “Automatic door systems”)
Suva-checklist, Türen und Tore (i.e. “Doors and Gates”)
www.suva.chPublications by bfu can be requested or downloaded in PDF format for free: To order other publications, please contact the specified publisher directly.

[1] Art. 58 Obligations code (CO) of March the 30th 1911, RS 220
© upi 2012, reproductions are well-accepted if the source is mentioned;
bfu – Swiss Council for Accident Prevention, post box 8236, CH-3001 Berne
Tel. +41 31 390 22 22, fax +41 31 390 22 30,,