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Understanding glass health & safety regulations in schools

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 has required employers, including self-employed and those in a position of control over workplaces to take reasonable practical steps to ensure the health and safety of those who might be affected by their work activities. The act covers a wide range of workplaces, including schools.

Since 1996, safety glazing has been a requirement in the workplace in accordance with Regulation 14 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Therefore, if window glazing constitutes a risk, reasonably practicable measures must be taken to rectify the situation.

Glass health & safety regulations in – Regulation 14

Regulation 14 states that all windows, or other transparent or translucent surfaces in a wall, partition, door or gate should be of a safety material or be protected against breakage where necessary for reasons of health and safety.

Critical locations

British Standard BS 6262: Part 4: 2005 and Section N1 of Approved Document N of the Building Regulations outlines that all glazing that is fitted in ‘critical locations’ within a building should either:

If broken, break in such a way which is unlikely to cause injury, or

  • Resist impact without breaking
  • Be shielded or protected from impact

Critical locations include low level glazing (below shoulder height) and windows and glazing that are adjacent to doors. However, this is the minimum requirements and in locations of special risk, such as schools, gyms, sports halls or colleges, it’s recommended that safety glazing is installed on all glass panes.

Assessing the risk

Risk assessments should also be carried out in these critical locations taking into account activities that take place in these areas, the volume of traffic these areas see and whether or not any previous incidents have taken place. It may be necessary to put up barriers to protect the window panes, reorganise heavy traffic routes or modify the panes by adding a safety film.

Safety film

Glass safety films use multiple layers of polyester and strong laminating adhesives and are designed to protect properties from damage caused by shattered glass. The film works to hold shattered glass together in the event of breakage whilst also making it more difficult to break in the first place. Because of this, glass safety film is commonly used in schools and colleges to protect children and young adults. The film also carries additional benefits such as UV reduction.

Westgate Solar Control provides glass safety film for doors and windows in the UK and can provide schools with added security to help adhere to health and safety regulations.

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