Automatic Door Hazards Points and Best Safety Practices


Automatic doors are a popular alternative to conventional doors in business establishments for a number of reasons. Having automatic doors makes for better user experience and addresses the unique needs of disabled visitors and those carrying heavy bags. In addition, they are huge energy savers in buildings that run HVAC, since the doors are kept closed and only opened for incoming customers.

However, just like any other motor-driven machine, there are inherent dangers with the operation of automatic doors. It's important for business/building owners to be informed about these dangers so that they can take steps to eliminate or mitigate risk factors and also comply with country regulations on automatic door installation and operation.

Hazard points in automatic door systems and how to address them

Obvious hazard points exist where the door's moving parts slide/roll/fold over the door's fixed parts, creating the possibility of trapping and/or crushing various body parts of door users. The exact location of these hazard points depend on the type of automatic door as follows:

  • Auto-sliding doors – points of danger occur where the panels slide over each other, as well as the closing edges on either side. This can be addressed using sensor or pocket screens. The latter is a pocket-like contraption that the door slides into every time it opens.
  • Auto-swing doors – primary hazard points exist where the door panel meets the frame, with auxiliary hazards existing on the other edge where the door is hinged. The primary hazard can be curbed using controls and sensors for safety and speed control. In addition, the hinged edge should have finger entrapment prevention technology.
  • Auto-folding doors – the danger exists at the point the panels fold onto each other. Risk of injury can be reduced using presence-sensing devices and opening/closing speed regulation. In addition, the secondary edge should be fitted with finger entrapment prevention technology.
  • Revolving doors – every closing edge on a revolving door is a possible hazard point, especially where the edges meet the door frame. It is necessary to install panel, heel or foot switches such that the door stops each time it catches up with a user. There should be safety sensors at the top of every moving leaf.

Clear signage

Clearly visible signage is a key element of automatic door safety protocols. Indicators signs should be included i.e. an arrow at least 10 x 4cm. It should be installed 1.2m – 1.5m from ground level and as close as practically feasible to the leading edge. The head of the arrow should point the direction in which the panel travels on opening. Other appropriate signs include:

  • No entry signs for exit-only doors and vice-versa
  • Keep clear signs on swing doors in the direction not used (e.g. for entry only doors the sign should be on the exit side)
  • Automatic door sign
  • Disabled person sign
  • Emergency exit signs


4 November 2015

Security Doors, Frames and Locks: Securing Your Home's Openings

Hi, my name is Brenda, and welcome to my blog. A few years ago, my home became the victim of a burglary. I didn't think it was possible because we live out in a relatively remote rural area, but it happened. After that, I knew I never wanted anyone in my home again without my permission. As a result, I begin to secure my home. I ended up realising the the doors were less secure than the windows. I replaced our doors with metal security doors, but I also got new frames and locks. If you want to keep your home secure, take a look around this blog. It has posts on everything I have learned about securing your doors. I hope these ideas keep you safe and happy!