May 28, 2002
UL warns of entrapment hazard when
using automatic garage doors
Although it's often the largest and heaviest piece of moving equipment in a
home, many consumers don't realize the potentially deadly consequences
associated with garage doors.
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) has recently received four reports of
children being trapped beneath automatic garage doors that were left in a
partially opened position. When stopped in this position, activation of the
door operator may result in the door initially traveling in the downward
direction thus increasing pressure on someone trapped beneath the door.
Continued or repeated activation of the door, particularly when in a panic
state, may not result in the immediate reversal of the door to the open
position, particularly if the door operator is not properly maintained.
UL recommends that automatic garage doors be left only in the fully open or
fully closed positions and never in a partially open or closed position.
Walking or crawling under a partially opened door creates a potential
"Garage doors weigh as much as 600 pounds and can cause serious injury or
even death if they're not used with care," says Barbara Guthrie, UL consumer
"Although UL Listed residential garage door openers manufactured since 1993
have enhanced anti-entrapment safety features, homeowners should not take
safety for granted," Guthrie adds. "If entrapment occurs, remain calm, and
call for help from your local fire department."
Consumers should always exercise caution when using automatic garage door
operators and follow the safety instructions provided:
IMPORTANT SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS
WARNING - To reduce the risk of severe injury or death:
READ AND FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS.
NEVER LET CHILDREN OPERATE OR PLAY WITH DOOR CONTROLS. Keep remote control
away from children.
Always keep the moving door in sight and away from people, pets and objects
until it is completely closed. NO ONE SHOULD CROSS THE PATH OF A MOVING
TEST THE DOOR OPERATOR MONTHLY. The garage door MUST reverse on contact with
a 1-1/2 inch high object (or a piece of two-by-four lumber laid flat) on the
floor. If the door doesn't stop and reverse after contact with the object,
disconnect the operator and use the door manually until the operator is
replaced or repaired by a qualified technician.
When possible, USE THE EMERGENCY RELEASE ONLY WHEN THE DOOR IS CLOSED. Use
caution when using this release with the door open. Weak or broken springs
are capable of increasing the rate of door closure and increasing the risk
of severe injury or death.
KEEP GARAGE DOORS PROPERLY BALANCED. See owner's manual. An improperly
balanced door increases the risk of severe injury or death. Have a qualified
service person make repairs to cables, spring assemblies, and other
Source: Underwriters Laboratories Inc.