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Safety Commission Publishes Final Rules For Automatic Garage Door Openers

Release Date: December 03, 1992

In an effort to reduce the number of deaths to children who become entrapped under garage doors with automatic openers, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today issued final rules for automatic residential garage door openers. The rules, which will be published in the Federal Register, include revised entrapment protection requirements for all automatic residential garage door openers manufactured on or after January 1, 1993 for sale in the United States. The rules also include certification requirements and recordkeeping requirements for garage door opener manufacturers.

The entrapment protection requirements are part of a Congressional mandate in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 1990. The legislation requires that automatic residential garage door openers manufactured on or after January 1, 1991 conform to the entrapment protection requirements of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard for Safety, UL 325.

The legislation also requires that residential garage door openers manufactured on or after January 1, 1993 comply with additional entrapment protection requirements developed by UL.

The rules issued today specify these additional entrapment protection requirements. The revised standard requires that residential garage door openers contain one of the following:

-External entrapment protection device, such as an "electric eye" which "sees" an object obstructing the door without having actual contact with the object. Another similar device would be a door edge sensor. The door edge sensor acts much like the door edge sensors on elevator doors.

-Constant contact control button which is a wall-mounted button requiring a person to hold in the control button continuously for the door to close completely. If the button is released before the door closes, the door would reverse and open to the highest position. The remote control transmitter will not close the door with this option.

Additionally, all newly-manufactured garage door openers must include a sticker warning consumers of the potential entrapment hazard. The sticker is to be placed near the wall mounted control button.

The entrapment protection requirements are aimed at reducing the potential for entrapment between the edge of the garage door and the floor. Since 1982, the Commission received reports of 54 children between the ages of two and 14 who died after becoming entrapped under doors with automatic garage door openers.

CPSC urges consumers with automatic garage door openers to test the openers according to the manufacturer's recommendations, to make sure they have a reversing feature. The reversing feature should then be tested monthly. If the door fails to reverse, adjust the door according to the owner's manual or have it inspected by a professional repairman.

Additionally, owners of automatic garage door openers should teach their children about garage door safety and keep transmitters and remote controls out of children's reach.

The certification and recordkeeping requirements issued today finalize rules proposed by the Commission on March 18, 1992.

The certification rule takes effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The rule requires a label on automatic residential garage door openers indicating that the opener conforms with the entrapment protection requirements of the rule. The label allows consumers to distinguish between complying and non-complying garage door openers. The label is standardized for non-UL listed garage door openers; UL listed openers can continue to use the UL logo as a certificate of compliance.

The recordkeeping rule, which also takes effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, requires manufacturers to maintain written records of tests that demonstrate the basis for certification.

CPSC is issuing these rules as part of its mission to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with consumer products. The Commission's objective is to reduce the estimated 28.5 million injuries and 21,600 deaths associated each year with the 15,000 different types of consumer products under CPSC's jurisdiction.

About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.

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