Corporate Property have recently been made aware of a property related incident which we
wanted to share with you in order to raise awareness and reduce risk.

A student’s fingers recently became trapped in the gap between an external metal gate and
mounting post when the gate was pushed back beyond an angle of 180 degrees. During
routine operation, the gap between post and gate presented no opportunity for finger
trapping, however when the gate opening extended beyond 180 degrees, a sufficient gap
presented itself in which to trap fingers.

Finger trapping injuries are the most common accidents caused by doors and door frames
and the majority of those affected by such “finger-trapping” incidents are children under the
age of 8. Young children, or other vulnerable persons, don’t recognise hazards that may exist
around us in the same way that adults and older children do, and so greater care is needed
when managing the exposure of children to health and safety risks. The Health & Safety
Executive have advised that “as finger guarding devices are readily available and relatively
inexpensive to install, it is reasonably practicable for schools, or other establishments which
are frequently used by young children or vulnerable persons, to fit guarding on doors
identified as high risk following a suitable risk assessment”

Corporate Property are advising schools to;

  • Review current risk assessments and applied actions relating to doors and gates to
    check for suitability and sufficiency (a finger trapping risk assessment template is
    available in the Primary General section on EEC, and is now listed as a key risk
    assessment for Primary Schools to complete from the Burgundy Pack ‘Programme of
    Risk Assessments’).
  • Check current door and gate openings which are capable of opening greater than
    180 degrees. This is to ensure that when opened beyond 180 degrees, sufficient
    space is available to avoid trapped fingers. If a risk of finger trapping remains owing
    to an insufficient gap with the gate, it should be mitigated as soon as possible either
    through a robust regime of supervision / management or through a physically
    engineered solution.

For any further advice or support please contact your appointed area building surveyor or
nominated building professional.

picture of secondary school age children working around a table

About this article

April 19, 2023

James Britton