Anti-fall devices or safety brakes – what are they and why should I install them?
Posted on 10th August 2023 at 10:51
Roller Shutter and Sectional Overhead Doors, by their nature are very heavy, and could cause serious damage or fatalities if they suddenly fail and fall to the floor. This is why we strongly advise the installation of safety brakes. But what are they and why do you need them? In this blog, our experts explore five of the most common questions we are asked regarding anti-fall devices…
1. What exactly is a safety brake or an anti-fall device?
There are three main types of anti-fall back devices and the type that you may have installed depends upon what type of door that you have.
Cable brakes – these act much like an anchor and are designed to jam into the side-track of the door in the case of a lifting cable snapping. These then hold the door in place rather than allowing it to free fall to the floor.
Spring brakes – In the case of a spring or coil failure, these devices are designed to lock the shaft in place and prevent any further movement of the door. Again, without these, the door would be at risk of freefalling to the ground and causing considerable damage to the panels, the floor and anything else unlucky enough to be underneath it at the time.
Motor brakes – If a motor does not have a safety brake already built in, then there is a possibility that the motor could fail, o, causing the door to drop suddenly. Older motors are more susceptible to this and will, most likely, need to be replaced to meet future safety standards.
2. I have my door serviced regularly. Do I still need them fitting?
Regular servicing is essential to maintain the health of your door and all its component parts however, if your door does not already have safety brakes or anti-fall devices installed, we strongly advise you to do so. Currently, the health and safety regulator for Britain (HSE) strongly recommend the installation of safety brakes and we anticipate this to become a mandatory regulation within the near future. When this happens, any door not fitted with safety brakes would be deemed unsafe to use.
3. How can I check if my door complies with the current guidance?
The only way to guarantee your door’s compliance is to have a professional come and look at your door – especially if your door is a Roller Shutter as the brakes are situated within the barrel assembly itself. If your door has been installed recently, these devices come as standard so there is a good chance that you are already protected.
However, to be sure, you would need an expert door engineer to confirm this. Alternatively, if your doors are serviced by Stanair, you would have received a full-service report which will indicate if the door is fitted with anti-fall back devices. If you have not had your door serviced recently, then simply call us on 01536 482187 or click here and our friendly team can arrange a time which is suitable for you.
4. Do I need to invest in new doors?
Truthfully? Possibly. It is hard to say without any further context. If you have only recently had new doors installed, it is highly likely that they already have anti-fall devices installed – but again – be sure to check this during your door’s regular servicing.
If your doors consist of mainly Sectional Overheads, retro fitting these devices can be achieved easily by our trained experts. However, this is not always possible with a roller shutter. This can be due to a variety of reasons but, most commonly, it is because the springs are located inside the barrel assembly. Modifications can be made to accommodate a safety brake, but it could be more economical to replace the entire door.
5. My site has multiple doors which may need replacing. Do I need to replace them all at the same time?
Again possibly. It very much depends on the context of your business and the types of doors that you need to replace. For the moment, having these devices installed is a ‘strong recommendation’. However, once safety brakes become a mandatory requirement, as they will do soon, all doors which may have personnel or vehicles passing underneath will be deemed too unsafe for use.
Therefore, it is better to be proactive and plan in order to avoid potential disruption and extra costs. Alternatively, you may wish to have the devices installed as soon as possible to minimise any potential risks to your staff, visitors or property and, if this is the case, we would be more than happy to organise this work for you.
If you do have multiple doors that require the fitting of these devices, we suggest that you work with us to create budget plan which allows you to spread the cost over a given time frame. If this is something that you would like to explore further, then please do click here to get in touch.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of our servicing agreements, anti-fall back devices or just have some extra questions that weren’t included in our list, please do just get in touch and one of our friendly team will get back to you as soon as possible
Do your roller shutters have safety brakes installed? We can check for you...
A cable break on a Sectional Overhead door
A typical sectional overhead door at a site in Buckinghamshire
An example of an installed spring brake on a sectional door.
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