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Residual Risk Assessment - A DHF Case Study

Car park barrier

Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) has recently learned of a civil case involving a cyclist and a car park barrier.   The owners of the car park in question were recently ordered to pay £12,000 in legal costs which included just over £3,000 in compensation to the cyclist after the barrier closed on her as she was exiting the car park. 

Fortunately, the cyclist was wearing a helmet, but she was struck on the head and nose, and sustained injuries resulting in her being left with a minor scar.   The judge concluded that the car park owners had failed to give enough consideration to how cyclists should exit or enter the car park, although 'dynamic risk assessments' had been carried out.  It was also acknowledged in the summing up that the award given had been reduced due to the cyclist’s 'contributory negligence'.

“Whilst there is no indication that the car park barrier was in any way non-compliant, this case does draw attention to the need for effective residual risk assessment following the basic compliance assessment,” says DHF’s General Manager and Secretary, Michael Skelding.  “Our guidance, TS 013, highlights that a compliance and residual risk assessment should be recorded.

“Whilst the compliance assessment is fairly well defined against the standard EN 12453:2017+A1:2021, the residual risk assessment is a far more dynamic process with less clearly defined outcomes, covering areas such as vulnerability of users, frequency of use, and how far the level of compliance protects the user amongst others,” continues Michael.  “These outcomes will be site specific and must not be ignored.  Greater consideration must be taken to consider how users of the system may require additional safeguards ‘over and above’ those defined in the standard.  A maintenance contractor carrying out such an assessment should pass their findings onto the client to enable them to consider the advice in conjunction with their own risk assessment.”

In this case, the location of the site may very well have led a person carrying out this risk assessment to consider cyclists.  Whilst they are not specifically covered in the standard, where they are likely to be using the barrier their safety and vulnerability must be considered, and adequate safety measures put in place.  

“Although users of any system bear a personal responsibility, borne out by the judgment in this case, the operator of the system must consider risks associated with their site, always considering the possibility of foreseeable misuse.  This case highlights the importance of an effective residual risk assessment.” concludes Michael.


11th April 2023

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