2016 Changes for UL 325

On January 12, 2016, new UL 325 standards went into effect. The UL 325 standards are guidance for the proper installation and maintenance of door, gate, window, drapery and louver systems and operators. While much remains the same as in the past, there are important changes that installers of gate operator entrapment protection systems must know and understand to ensure compliance. Here’s a look at what has changed this year:

Minimum Two Entrapment-Protection Devices

Operators must have at least two entrapment protection systems. You can have any combination of inherent- and external-type systems, though a duplicate of the same device cannot satisfy this requirement. In other words, you can have an inherent-type and external-type system, or you can have two inherent-type or two external-type systems — as long as the systems do not apply to the same device. Gate operator installers should approach each job from this point forward with a focus on creating solutions that satisfy this requirement for UL 325 compliance.

The Use of Contact and Non-Contact Sensors

A contact or non-contact sensor can serve as an external-type device, though there are caveats when you choose this path to UL 325 compliance. The sensor that serves as an external-type device must be monitored at minimum once per cycle for both proper sensor operation and proper sensor connection. In the case of a missing or malfunctioning device, the gate can only be operated through control device pressure, which means that wireless controls will not be in operation.

Installer Responsibilities

During gate operator installation, it’s up to the installer to decide if a risk of obstruction of entrapment is present. While the manufacturers of gate operator controls are required to provide guidance for where to place external devices, these manufacturers typically only give suggestions in their instruction manuals. It’s the emergency access control systems installer who must determine whether or not the risk of obstruction or entrapment exists. And, if it does, the installer must provide two independent methods of entrapment protection.

No More Segmentation

Previous iterations of UL 325 segmented entrapment protection devices into two categories: primary and secondary. That’s no longer the case. Underwriters Laboratories has determined that all entrapment protection devices should be considered equally important, and the terms primary and secondary did not reinforce that thinking.

A Change for Audible Alarms — Type E Devices

Audible alarms, better known as Type E devices, are no longer acceptable as one of the two entrapment protection devices. It’s been determined that audible alarms are more of a warning device. That doesn’t mean they’re considered any less important. In fact, under the new UL 325 regulations, gate operators in all classes are required to include an audible alarm that is triggered when a contact-type system detects back-to-back obstructions.

A New Exception for Emergency Access Controls

Emergency access control systems may now be placed in any location where emergency responders such as firefighters, police, EMS crews and others can have clear sightlines to the gate. This new allowance conflicts with the manufacturer instruction requirement, which says that the emergency access controls must be a minimum of six feet away from any of the gate’s moving parts. This exception represents a common sense allowance for gate operator installers, which should make installation less restricted.

Slight Change for Barrier-Arm Gate Operators

There’s also a slight change in the exception for barrier-arm gate operators. These operators once required entrapment protection only if the arm moved to a rigid object within two feet. Now, rather than required entrapment protection for rigid objects within two feet, the new distance is 16 inches. While this may seem like an arbitrary change of distance, it was adjusted for closer alignment with ASTM F2200 and its recommendations for entrapment protection.

New Class II and III Definitions

Gate operator installers should familiarize themselves with new slight changes to installation classes. Commercial locations accessible to the public are now part of Class II, and industrial locations not accessible to the public are now part of Class III. These adjustments may impact the appropriateness of different gate operators depending on the type of location where gate operator entrapment protection is needed.

The Importance of These Changes

These changes emerged from close analysis by Underwriters Laboratories and other industry experts. The changes are meant to create an environment where gate operator controls offer the utmost in safety and gate operator controls installers are protected from liability. The faster you get to know and understand these new UL 325 standards, the safer and more effective the installation, service and use of gate operator controls and emergency access control systems are.

If you have any questions or concerns about the changes to UL 325 standards, get in touch with the local experts at Custom Door & Gate.