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A new garage door can add both beauty and value to your home. Your garage door is also the largest moving device in your home, and as a result, if not properly cared for or maintained, can present a serious and potential risk of injury and property damage.
Safety is the most important, and overlooked, aspect of garage doors. Garage doors are extremely heavy, with many parts under extreme tension, and are usually operated by a mechanical garage door opener that has the potential to pull or push with a dangerous amount of force.
Garage doors cause injury and property damage (including expensive damage to the door itself) in several different ways. The most common causes of injury from garage door systems include falling doors, pinch points, improperly adjusted opener force settings and safety eyes, attempts at “do-it-yourself repairs” without the proper knowledge or tools, and uncontrolled release of spring tension (on extension spring systems).
Commitment to Safety
A garage door with a broken torsion spring or the wrong strength of spring, can fall with tremendous force. Because the effective weight of the door increases as the garage door sections transfer from the horizontal to vertical door tracks, a falling garage door accelerates rapidly. A free falling garage door can cause serious injury or death. Most commonly, unsuspecting homeowners injure their backs while lowering a garage door with a broken spring, because they do not expect to be dealing with the door’s “true weight”.
The sections and rollers on garage doors represent a major pinch hazard. Children should never be allowed near a moving garage door for this reason. On manually operated garage doors, handles should be installed vertically, to promote “vertical orientation of the hand”. Mechanical garage door openers can pull or push a garage door with enough force to injure or kill people and pets if they become trapped. All modern openers are equipped with “force settings” that will cause the door to reverse if it encounters too much resistance while closing, and to stop if too much resistance is encountered while opening.
Garage Door openers that are sold today require “safety eyes”, which are sensors that will prevent a garage door from closing if there is an obstruction under the door. Force settings should cause a door to stop or reverse upon encountering more than approximately 20 lbs of resistance. Safety eyes should be installed a maximum of six inches above the ground. Many garage door injuries, and nearly all garage door related property damage, can be avoided by following these precautions. Many serious injuries occur when people without proper training and tools attempt to repair a garage door. Certain parts, especially springs, cables, bottom brackets, and spring anchor plates, are under extreme tension from the torsion spring. Fatal injuries can occur if the wrong part is loosened or removed from a garage door while under tension.
Regrettably, people do not understand garage door operation and injuries do happen. Garage door related injuries are tracked and statistics are maintained by the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP). CHIRPP is an injury surveillance system operating in the emergency departments of 10 pediatric and 4 general hospitals in Canada. Data collection began in April 1990 at the pediatric hospitals and between 1991 and 1995 in the general hospitals.
An earlier CHIRPP study on injuries associated with garage doors found 183 cases between 1990 and 1995. These injuries were most frequent among children 10-14 years of age. Most of the injuries happened in the patient’s own home garage, most commonly in the summer and many were due to a body part being caught in the door.
Between 1990 and 2005, 622 cases of injuries associated with the opening or closing of garage doors were reported.
Those injuries were reported as follows:
Patient activity at time of injury:
• Underside of garage door closed or fell onto patient (248)
• Body part caught in panel of door while opening/closing (208)
• Injured by a mechanism of garage door((52)
• Injured while repairing garage door (31)
• Cut on garage door window (14)
• Injured by garage door, not further specified (NFS) (14)
• Cut by piece of garage door while opening/closing (12)
• Garage door opened and hit patient (11)
• Slipped while opening/closing garage door (10)
• Patient lifted by door while opening, then fell to ground (9)
• Strain while opening/closing garage door (7)
• Garage door fell off hinge/tracks onto patient (malfunction)( 6)
Garage doors present a serious risk of injury and property damage to you and your loved ones, especially children who are unsuspecting of what dangers exist. Please take the time to caution them around garage doors as they open and close and do not attempt your own “home repairs”. Ensure your own safety and that of your family by having your door maintained and serviced by a trained and professional garage door technician at Door Care.
We install and service across south-western Ontario.
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26 Alexander Ave.
Toll free: 1.855.973.2273
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