Garage Door Safety Features That Can’t Be Ignored

Gladys T. Black
Garage Door Safety Features That Can’t Be Ignored

Older models of garage doors can be very dangerous.  This has led to rules issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for automatic residential garage door openers to ensure garage door safety and reduce the number of deaths to children who become entrapped under garage doors.  

Garage door safety features are also mandatory and required by law after the safety and design of these doors were called into question.  When you ask for garage door installation these days, the safety features are not an option that you would have to pay extra for.  The law now says these features have to be used on all garage doors.

Mandatory Rule for Garage Door Safety

The Safety Standard for Automatic Residential Garage Door Operators regulated by CPSC amended its rules in 2018 to protect consumers from the risk of entrapment.  It is an Improvement Act established to revise the standard of Garage Door Openers set by the Commission.  The mandatory rule states that garage door openers should have garage door safety features such as:

    An inherent system

All residential garage door openers sold in the United States are required to have an inherent reversing mechanism capable of reversing the motion of a moving garage door within 2 seconds, to reduce the risk of entrapment.  The required features of this inherent system for garage door safety are:

  • The system is physically located within the housing of the garage door opener.
  • The operator shall be provided with a means for connection of an external entrapment-sensing device like the use of an external eye for garage door openers that monitors the area under the garage door to detect people who might become entrapped.

    A door edge sensor or external entrapment-sensing devices

This garage door safety feature is similar to the sensors used on elevator doors and is located outside the housing of the garage door opener.  These devices are known as “external entrapment-sensing devices” because they are located outside the housing of the garage door opener.

For horizontally sliding garage door openers, the garage door opener is not required to open the door a minimum of two inches when it senses a second obstruction during the reversing travel.  This mechanism is a requirement for vertically moving garage door openers.

A means to manually detach the door operator from the door

This garage door safety feature enables a person to detach the operator from the door quickly if a person becomes entrapped under the garage door.  The means of detachment for most garage doors involves pulling on a red handle that hangs below the garage door opener.

A “30-second clock” device

Another required safety feature for all garage door openers is the 30-second clock device that reopens the door if the door cannot close completely within 30 seconds.  It is a back-up to the primary, 2-second inherent entrapment system that would prevent further injury in case a person becomes entrapped by the door.

An unattended operation control accessory

To ensure safety, a garage door opener should have remote monitoring and unattended activation via wireless or internet-connected devices.  This requirement clarifies the use of visual and audible alarm operation including provisions for maintaining compliance with the entrapment protection of an external accessory.  

There should also be provided instructions and markings in the form of a sticker warning consumers of the potential entrapment hazard.  This sticker should be placed near the wall-mounted control button.

An external protection device that meets the requirements

The polymeric or elastomeric material used for the external protection device must meet the specified impact test requirements and remain fully operational at room temperature.  An exception will be accepted for these materials that crack or break during the impact test if they pass the water exposure test in the damaged condition.

Keep Everyone and Everything Safe 

The updated garage door safety features will help you keep everyone and everything safe and secure.  Make sure that the garage door openers that you use have these features to ensure that you create a safe environment in your garage.

Protect yourself and your loved ones from unreasonable risk of injury and even death associated with  defective safety systems through garage door safety rules and features and by testing your garage door openers on a monthly basis.  If your door fails to reverse, adjust the door according to the owner’s manual or have it inspected by a professional repairman immediately.

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