Garage Door Child

Falling Garage Doors A Crushing Concern

Four hundred pounds is a lot of weight.

Enough weight that few people can lift it.

Safety experts from the Consumer Products Safety Commission claim that the average garage door on an American Home weighs more than 400 pounds.

Pit a person against a falling 400-pound plus garage door and the door will win every time.

It doesn’t take a background in science to see the damage a falling garage door can cause.  It would break most bones and potentially crush anything in its path.  It has been proven to be fatal in too many cases

Imagine the impact on a child?

Unfortunately the danger of a falling garage door continues to show up in the obituary sections.

A door can fall through a number of factors ranging from broken springs, an inappropriate disconnect of the pull cord with people in the door’s paths, improper installation, a poor track or other extenuating circumstances.

We want answers,'

say Kolton's parents

ST. CATHARINES - The parents of a three-year- old boy killed in a tragic garage door incident say they want answers about his death.

In a statement released yesterday, Kyle and Frances Tkachuk of St. Catharines said they are "very devastated" by what has happened and "want answers (as) to how this happened.

"This tragedy should never have happened," they said in the short release.

Described by neighbours as a cheerful, happy child, Kolton Kyle Tkachuk had just celebrated his third birthday last weekend.

He was with his mother and baby sister, Felicia, in the driveway of their Cherie Road home when he was hit by the garage door coming down Wednes - day morning around 11:30 a.m. He was rushed to a St. Catharines hospital and later airlifted to McMaster, where he died shortly before 2 p.m.

"He was so special as he brought our family, parents, grandparents and so many others in the community so much joy and life," the family said. "This has taken a piece out of each one of our hearts."

The family said Frances was standing in front of the garage with Felicia on one side and Kolton on the other. Workers had arrived to repair the garage floor and Frances arrived short - ly after and opened the door from an outdoor keypad.

Police said a worker went into the garage to disconnect the door opener. When the door was released, the weight of it was too much to hold and it fell closed.

Kolton was hit by the falling door.

Early yesterday afternoon, the police tape that had blocked off the garage door had been removed and the light - coloured door was shut. Several cars were parked at the detached, two - storey, family home.

Neighbours say the family has been living in the house for about two years
Kolton Death Caused by Falling Garage Door


Kolton Tkachuk, 3, brought special joy to his family and community,

and are a friendly couple.

Kolton could often be found outside with his parents, said one neighbour, who asked not to be identified.

"I loved this little guy. I'd see him all the time," he said.

Anita Pizycki, co- owner of Concrete Finishes Niagara, the company which was doing the job, said yesterday they were "in absolute shock and dis - traught" about what had happened.

"It really ... hasn't even been processed yet in our brains," she said. "We're just horrified and feel so bad for the family."

Four workers were on site when the accident occurred.

Pizycki said she had seen each one of the workers yesterday and a counsellor was coming in later in the afternoon.

When finishing floors, it's standard to disconnect the garage door opener so the door can be put on supports and air can flow through the area, she said.

Niagara police said they are now working in an assistive role to the coroner, whose office is investigating the little boy's death.



At approximately 4:20 p.m. Friday, the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from Patricia Tinklenberg of 19741 State Highway 64, Akeley, reporting her 9-year­old foster son was found pinned beneath a large garage door.

Upon arrival, responders and officers found out the child, John Garrison Ploof, had returned from a field trip with his foster dad and had apparently gone to an unattached garage to retrieve something.

He attempted to pry up the large garage door, which eventually fell as he was crawling underneath it, causing his death, according to Hubbard County Sheriff Gary Mills.
The 9-year-old was the legal foster child of Elmer and Patricia Tinklenberg.

An autopsy was ordered and scheduled at the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office in St. Paul. Mills said the investi­gation will continue.

Responding to the call along with sheriff's deputies were members of the Akeley First Response Unit, Walker Ambulance, North Ambulance, North Memorial Air Care, troop­ers from the Minnesota State Patrol and personnel from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

By Becky Ogann

Story Created: Dec 14, 2007 at 11:29 AM CST

Story Updated: Dec 14, 2007 at 11:29 AM CST

WAUKON (AP) - A 14-year-old boy died after he was pinned by a garage door at his family's construction business, officials say.

Ty Riehm was riding an all-terrain vehicle out of the business on Tuesday when a large industrial overhead door closed down on top of him. That's according to Deputy Clark Mellick of the Allamakee County sheriff's office.

Riehm was pinned between the door and the ATV. Mellick says the boy was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Mellick says Riehm was the only person at the building.

He says it's not believed the overhead door malfunctioned. The investigation is continuing.

Taken from KCRG TV 9 website

The dangers of a falling door are easily illustrated by several tragedies, which occurred in the U.S. within the past five years.

The tragedy is not an isolated incident. A CPSC report detailing accidents and close calls with falling garage doors since 2002 also contains details of the following incidents:

--a two-year-old girl was killed in Prince Georges County Maryland after being struck in the head by a falling garage door. 

--an infant, 13 months of age, was killed in Pipersville, PA.  when a garage door fell, hitting him on the back of the head.  He died from the injury.

--an Upper Marlboro, Maryland youth thought the red and white cord on a garage door looked like a jump rope and pulled it, causing the garage door to free fall on his brother.  His brother died as a result of the accident.  The youth accessed the cord by standing on a sofa.

The safety group’s report also details a number of smaller injuries or close calls that resulted from a free-falling door.  The report is eight pages long. 

The CPSC numbers show that up to 20,000 people are injured or killed in garage door accidents annually in the U.S.  Approximately one third of those victims are children.  This data is collected through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a 100 U.S. hospital sampling.

A 32 year-old male lumber yardman died after being struck by a 1,200 pound steel commercial garage door. The victim was closing the garage door at the time of the incident and was standing directly beneath the door. Shortly after he activated the door, the door free-fell and crushed him.
The Nebraska Department of Labor evaluator concluded that to prevent future similar occurrences, employers and overhead door manufacturers/installers should:

  • Ensure that operating controls for overhead doors are designed and located to prevent workers from hazards of malfunctioning doors.
  • Develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive safety program that includes, but is not limited to, training in hazard recognition.
  • Consider developing commercial overhead door regulations/industry standards which would provide minimum standards for safe operation.

The goal of the workplace investigation is to prevent work-related deaths or injuries in the future by a study of the working environment, the worker, the task the worker was performing, the tools the worker was using, and the role of management in controlling how these factors interact.
This report is generated and distributed solely for the purpose of providing current, relevant education to the community on methods to prevent occupational injuries.

On August 19, 1994, a 32 year-old lumber yardman died when a commercial garage door fell on him. The Nebraska Department of Labor was notified by telephone on August 19, 1994, by the local police department that responded to the incident scene. The FACE evaluator accompanied an OSHA investigator to the incident site on August 22 and 23, 1994, and interviewed the employer, witnesses to the incident, the police officer responding to the incident and the county coroner.
The employer is a building supply company that has been in business at the incident location for 25 years, employing 15 personnel at this particular store. This was the first occupational fatality in the history of the company. The company had a written safety program and a designated safety officer. The safety officer performed other primary duties and was not present at the site at the time of the incident.

The victim had worked a full workday and was closing one of four overhead metal doors in preparation for closing the store for the day. The metal door, 18 feet wide by 15 feet high, weighing approximately 1200 pounds, is raised and lowered electrically. An electric motor drives cable reels which wind two cables, one on each side of the door, attached to the door's lower panels. A counterbalancing coil spring is mounted on the cable reel shaft. The controls to activate the door are located directly beside the door rails. As the victim was beginning to activate the door controls someone outside of the building yelled at him and he stuck his head through the door opening to answer. Witnesses said at this point the door was closing and had traveled about two feet when they heard a snap and the door free-fell, striking the victim on the back of the head doubling him over, and pinning him to the ground. Medical help was immediately called and arrived on the scene within 5 minutes. A co-worker lifted the door off the victim with a forklift prior to the medical personnel arriving. The victim was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead in the emergency room.
The door involved in the incident had been struck by a forklift three months prior to the incident. The forklift struck the overhead support rails and damaged them causing the door, which was in the open position at the time, to fall. The door maintenance company was called out to repair the door. The support rail on the left side and the top two panels of the door were replaced after that incident. Approximately three weeks before the fatal incident the door malfunctioned when one of the take-up cables came off one of the take-up reels. (There are two cables - one on each side of the door.) The door caught in the rails askew after the cable came off the reel. The door maintenance company came out and replaced the cable.
During the investigation after the fatal incident the brackets to which the door cables were attached were both hanging freely, attached to the cable but separated from the door. The bolts which connected them to the bottom door panels had been sheared.
Exactly what happened to cause the bolts to shear is unknown but a couple of scenarios are feasible. The victim could have pushed the down button on the door and then, when he heard his friend yell at him, he could have immediately pressed the up button. This sudden reversal of the door travel could have stressed the bolts enough to shear them. The bolts were 1/4 inch, grade two bolts. The brackets the cables are attached to are flat steel and are bolted flat against the lower inside of the bottom garage door panels. The two brackets on the incident door each had 10 holes which appeared to have had bolts in them prior to the incident. Two of the ten holes on each bracket appeared to have been drilled subsequent to original door installation, which was in 1969. The other three garage door cable brackets all had just eight holes.
Another possible scenario was that the door or cables were binding in someway and the motor continued applying force on the cables until the bolts sheared. The door did not have a sensor on it, like those required on residential garage doors, that reverse the door when resistance is detected.

The cause of death, as determined by the coroner, was massive head trauma.

Recommendation #1: Ensure that operating controls for overhead doors are designed and located to prevent workers from hazards of malfunctioning doors.
Discussion: If a "deadman" control had been physically separated a sufficient distance from the door (in this case approximately 20 feet), this victim could not have been in a position to be struck by the door. Of course, all others must remain clear of the door during operation also. The "deadman" controls would allow the operator to immediately stop door operation if anyone entered the area of door operation.

Recommendation #2: Develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive safety program that includes, but is not limited to, training in all hazard recognition.
Discussion: A comprehensive safety program should address the hazards involved with all machinery. Written guidance should be available and enforced concerning staying clear of all operating machinery to include garage doors. This guidance should be covered initially with all new personnel and periodically with all employees.

Recommendation #3: Consider developing commercial overhead door regulations/industry standards which would provide minimum standards for safe operation.
Discussion: If standards were developed and enforced for commercial garage doors, the potential for fatal injuries could be greatly reduced. The following areas should be addressed:

  • As stated in recommendation #1, physically separate controls from the door and install "deadman" controls.
  • Consider requiring an audible warning which would sound several seconds prior to door activation to warn any persons in the door area.
  • Consider requiring sensor switches on door drive motor which would reverse door direction when resistance is detected.
  • Consider redesigning brackets to which the drive cables are attached. A "U"-shaped bracket that would wrap around the bottom of the door would provide much greater strength and lessen the possibility of shearing the bolts connecting the bracket to the door. Also, consider requiring a higher grade bolt to withstand the stresses applied.
  • Consider requiring periodic inspections (at least annually) by competent technicians to assess proper operation and condition of equipment.

To contact Nebraska State FACE program personnel regarding State-based FACE reports, please use information listed on the Contact Sheet on the NIOSH FACE web site Please contact In-house FACE program personnel regarding In-house FACE reports and to gain assistance when State-FACE program personnel cannot be reached.

Non Reversing Garage Door Openers A Hazard

CPSC Document #523

Homeowners with automatic garage door openers that do not automatically reverse should repair or replace them with new openers which do reverse to prevent young children from being trapped and killed under closing garage doors.

According to reports received by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 60 children between the ages of 2 and 14 have been trapped and killed under automatic garage doors since March 1982. This is approximately 4 such deaths per year. Other children have suffered brain damage or serious injuries when the closing door contacted them, and failed to stop and reverse its direction.

CPSC urges consumers to check the condition and operation of their garage door and the opener. A properly operating garage door will be "balanced." This means that the door will stay in place when stopped in any partially opened position. A severely unbalanced garage door could unexpectedly crash to the floor possibly striking someone under the open door.

To check the garage door, the garage door opener must be detached from the door while in the closed position.On most openers manufactured since 1982, a "quick-release" mechanism is provided which permits the opener to be detached from the door.

To avoid amputation or crushing injuries, homeowners should be careful when manually operating the door not to place hands or fin-gers between door sections or near pulleys, hinges, or springs. The door should not stick or bind when opened or closed. If doors are not "balanced," or if they bind or stick, they should be serviced by a professional.

Once the garage door is operating properly, homeowners should check to see that the garage door opener's force and limit settings are adjusted according to manufacturer's instructions. Check the garage door operator owners manual for any instructions on testing the safety features. One quick test is to place a 2x4 on the floor of the garage in the door's path. If the door does not properly reverse on striking the 2x4 then the garage door opener should be disengaged until the unit is either adjusted according to the instructions in the owners manual, repaired, or replaced with a new garage door opener. A professional garage door service should be contacted if the homeowner is not comfortable with performing these tests, repairs and adjustments.

All homeowners should disconnect all garage door openers that have not been certified as meeting the requirements of the voluntary ANSI/UL standard 325-1982.The standard calls for a number of safety features not found on earlier openers, and also subjects new openers to more stringent safety tests.

CPSC cautions consumers that not all devices that open and close the garage door are necessarily safe. Some old openers are equipped with a mechanism that only stops the closing door when it strikes an object, not reversing the door in the process. Other pre-1982 openers have a device intended to reverse the closing door when it strikes an object, but for reasons related to age, installation and maintenance, these products may not be safe enough to pre-vent entrapment of a child. These openers cannot be adjusted or repaired to provide the automatic reversing feature found on later devices.

The CPSC requires that all garage door operators manufactured or imported after January 1, 1993, for sale in the United States be outfitted with an external entrapment protection system.This system can be an electric eye, a door edge sensor, or any other device that provides equivalent protection. If an electric eye is used, it should be installed at a height of 4 to 6 inches above the floor.

Consumers should inspect garage doors and operation of the door opener every 30 days to verify that the system is functioning properly. Hardware and fittings should be checked to keep the door on track at all times. Should a hazard exist, homeowners should disconnect the automatic opener from the door as specified in the owner's manual, and manually open and close the garage door until needed repair/ replacement is completed.

Lastly, homeowners should relocate the wall switch in the garage as high as practical above the floor in an effort to restrict children's use of the automatic garage door. Remote control door operating devices should be kept locked in the car and away from children. Parents should also tell their children about the potential hazard.

Falling Garage Door Kills Children

'Freak occurrence' leaves Arlington Heights man pinned by garage door

By Lee Filas | Daily Herald Staff

An Arlington Heights man was injured Thursday morning when his garage door slammed shut on him, pinning him beneath it.

Police and rescue officials were called to the 1500 block of Windsor Drive with a report that a middle-aged man was trapped under the garage door in the residential neighborhood, Arlington Heights police officer Doug Hajek said.

Upon arrival, fire officials saw the 51-year-old man trapped under the door with his legs and feet sticking outside of the garage, and his torso and head still inside.

"He told officers that he slipped on some loose gravel and the door came down on top of him, pinning him," Hajek said. "It was definitely a freak occurrence."

A female jogger who was passing by heard the man crying for help and approached, but couldn't lift the heavy garage door off him, Hajek said. A neighbor was then called and, with the combined strength of the three people, the garage door was lifted.

"I'm not sure if it was one of those single-piece heavy garage doors or if it was a three-piece door that was just extremely heavy," he said. "But, it took three people to lift it."

The man was taken from the scene with nonlife-threatening injuries to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.

Daily Herald Story