Windows are a key consideration during the design and specification of any new build project and all public organisations have a legal obligation to provide an environment that is safe.
Lighting, security, aesthetics and emergency exits are just some of the many objectives that need to be met. However, depending on what the building is intended for and the nature of its occupants, additional considerations will be required for certain establishments.
For buildings that will be primarily used by people that may need additional protection, window restrictors are often required and included in the plans.
But what exactly is a window restrictor? Basically, a window restrictor is a method of preventing a window from opening beyond 100mm, ensuring that nobody is able to fall out of it while still allowing fresh air into a building. Window restrictors are required in the establishments below.
All schools, colleges and universities are required to have window restrictors in place. This is especially important where younger children are in attendance.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities should have restrictors on windows on all floors above the ground floor in order to protect the well-being of patients. These window restrictors should be lockable with staff having access to the keys.
Resident safety is the primary concern in any care home or residential home.
Window restrictors are particularly vital in these environments as residents are often more vulnerable, suffer with mental health issues or can become disorientated.
While the above establishments are legally required to have window restrictors, it is recommended that many other properties also have them in place to avoid any potential accidents. These include:
Window restrictors provide excellent peace of mind in family homes, especially with children under the age of 5, who are the most at risk from accidental falls.
They allow the healthy circulation of fresh air while removing the possibility of an accident.
Landlords are not legally required to have window restrictors in place. However, it is strongly advised that they are installed on windows above the ground floor.
This is particularly important for properties that are being rented by families with young children and students.
Employees are entitled to feel safe and protected in their places of work, while employers are advised to protect staff against any possible accidents. Having window restrictors in place will contribute to this.
Many larger hotel chains have window restrictors in place to avoid any potential accidents. People using these facilities may be suffering from tiredness or disorientation, or have overindulged in alcohol, making them more vulnerable to unfamiliar surroundings, while children are naturally curious and prone to explore a new environment. It is important that windows are secured to avert any possible tragedy.
Keeping staff, patients, employees and visitors safe inside educational establishments and health services, including hospitals and care homes, is the responsibility of local authorities or governing bodies.
Window safety and the prevention of falling comes under the broader category of general Health and Safety laws.
Useful information explaining and assisting in the compliance of legal duties of health and care providers is available here.
Different local authorities have different Building Regulations in place, with restrictions varying on the intended purpose of the building. However, the prevention and protection from falling is a vital element.
For further information, read UK Government Building Regulations Section K2 ‘Protection from Falling’.
These regulations state that the following situation requires protection from falling: ‘Where a person may fall through a window above ground floor level, provide suitable opening limiters to restrain the window sufficiently to prevent such falls or guarding.’
Cubelock has a range of window restrictors that provide an ideal solution to improving window safety and help to reduce the risks of falls from windows in both public and private buildings.