OH.com Exclusive: Don't Let Automatic Door Safety Slide

Jan. 14, 2002
Does your facility have automatic doors? If so, these guidelines for conducting daily checks can help you swing into safety.

With a properly selected and installed automatic door system, daily safety inspections can identify if there is something that is out of adjustment so that corrective actions can be taken before a malfunction occurs. Such preventative maintenance can greatly reduce the incidence of injuries.

As owners or caretakers of the equipment, you are responsible for inspecting the operation of your door system on a daily basis to check that it is safe for use by all visitors, customers and employees.

Your door system was designed to conform to the latest operating and safety standards. To keep your door functioning safely, it is important that your door system be maintained in compliance with the standards of the industry. Proper decals and labels should be applied and maintained on doors. If decals are removed or cannot be read, they must be replaced. Finally, safety devices for all doors should be checked at least annually by an inspector certified by the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM).

Through the AAADM certification process, inspectors are trained to check door systems for compliance with the appropriate version of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A156.10 standard. An annual inspection by a certified inspector is essential to check that your door meets current and ever-changing standards.

Where You Should Start

Certainly, if there are any problems with your automatic door, you should discontinue door operation immediately and secure it in the open position for easy entry. Then call your authorized automatic door technician for service. You must start by being sure that the automatic door supplier has provided all of the following for each door:

  • Instructions on how to conduct the daily safety check (with a walk-through example);
  • The location of function switches and instruction in their use;
  • The circuit breaker or power disconnect location for each door system;
  • The number to call for service or questions about your system if you are uncertain of any condition or situation;
  • AAADM compliance certificate signed by a certified automatic door inspector;
  • Warranty information for each door;
  • Access to daily safety check videos from AAADM. Contact your automatic door supplier or AAADM if you do not have a copy. These videos can be used as training materials for you and your staff.

Daily Safety Check Routine

You should perform daily safety checks on each automatic door for customer safety and your own protection. You may wish to perform these checks while traffic is light.

It does not matter when you conduct your daily checks, but it is a good idea to get in the habit of doing them at the same time every day. It is advisable to check your door each morning when the power is turned on to the door system or after any loss of electrical power.

Sensor Activation/Presence Detection Safety Checks

In general, start by checking the electronic sensor by walking toward the door opening at a moderate speed at various angles. The door should start opening as you approach, should swing or slide open smoothly and stop without impact. As you move slowly through the door, it should remain open. For doors that are used for two-way traffic, you should repeat this process from the other side of the opening.

Now, step out of the sensor zone or off the floor mat. After a brief time delay, the door should close.

Approach the safety side of the swinging door first, then have someone else approach the activating side of the door. As long as you are in the safety area of the door, it should not open. It is recommended that you observe the traffic coming to the door and plan the traffic patterns so that people will approach the doors from straight on and not from an angle.

Further, if you doors are equipped with electronic holding beams, you should cover each doorway holding beam with your hand and stand motionless for several seconds. The door should remain open. Remove your hand and the door should close after the time delay expires. If other safety devices are being used, crouch motionless in the door opening for 10 seconds. The door should not close.

If the safety sensor is not working, the door may swing toward you without stopping. Exercise caution while conducting your daily checks.

General Safety Tips

Over the years, AAADM and the many different places that use automatic doors have developed some other important safety tips for you to keep in mind:

  1. The door should have decals properly displayed. There should be decals that include the statements: "AUTOMATIC DOOR" (in letters a minimum of 1/2 inch high) and "IN EMERGENCY - PUSH TO OPEN."
  2. An arrow sign should be visible from the approach side of a swinging door, mounted on the door at a height between 53 and 63 inches from the floor to the center line of the sign. The sign should be a minimum of 6 inches in diameter.
  3. An international "DO NOT ENTER" sign should be visible from the side that would swing toward pedestrians attempting to travel in the wrong direction. It should be mounted on the door at a height between 53 and 63 inches from the floor to the center line of the sign. The sign should be a minimum of 6 inches in diameter and contain a red circle with the wording "Do Not Enter" in white letters in the red circle.
  4. Swinging doors serving two-way traffic should be marked with a decal, visible from both sides of the door, with the words "CAUTION, Automatic Door." It should be mounted on the door at a height between 53 and 63 inches from the floor to the center line of the sign. The sign should be a minimum of 6 inches in diameter and should feature black lettering on a yellow background.
  5. An AAADM safety information sticker should be affixed on the door or frame in a protected, visible location. If you need additional decals for your automatic doors, call your door supplier.
  6. Keep floor guides clean and free of any debris that could interfere with proper door slide or cause tripping or slipping hazards.

Remember, if you have a problem, turn off the door operating equipment and call your automatic door supplier. Safety should be everyone's number one priority.

About the author: Naomi Angel is with the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM). AAADM was established to raise public awareness and to develop and administer a program to certify automatic door inspectors.

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