Window Films - Safety (Regulation 14)
The application of safety window film to upgrade existing glazing to meet BS6206 or BS EN12600 is the most widely used method since Regulation 14 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations, 1992) were implemented in 1996. Surprisingly many buildings still contain glass which does not comply.
The application of a safety film is a cost effective and quick application which can be carried out quickly with little disruption to the building occupants. The films are also available in combined safety-reflective finishes to help reduce heat and glare.
The warranty on safety film applied internally by an approved installer is 10 years. After this time peel tests may be carried out to determine whether the applied film is still going to perform, if the film passes, the film may be left on the glass i.e. may not need replacing.
There is a 4 step process which can be followed to understand Regulation 14 and comply.
The Workplace Regulations form part of the Health and Safety legislation which imposes a general duty in employers or duty holders to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work and those who use their premises.
The Workplace Regulations empower the UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the local authorities as its legal enforcement bodies.
Ignorance of the Workplace Regulations is no excuse: the obligation to comply is absolute.
Workplace is defined as: "Any premises or part of premises which are not domestic premises and are available to any person as a place of work". This definition therefore includes factories, offices, hospitals, places of entertainment, nursing homes, to name a few.
Regulation 14 states "Every window or other transparent or translucent surface in a wall or partition and every transparent or translucent surface in a door or gate shall, where necessary for reasons of health and safety:
- be of safety material or be protected against breakage of the transparent or translucent material and
- be appropriately marked or incorporate features so as, in either case, to make it more apparent".
In this step a risk assessment of vertical glazing should be carried out on vertical glazing to determine whether or not there is a risk of injury and if you have taken enough precautions. The risk assessment should consider:
- Identification of any hazards.
- Likelihood of harm occurring.
- Potential severity of harm.
- Who would be affected by the harm.
A critical location - ie. glazing which is most likely to be subjected to accidental human impact - needs to be assessed and can be summarised. As a general rule glazing is deemed to be in a potential risk of injury category if:
a. in a door, side panel close to either edge of a door, or a gate is between floor level and shoulder height (use 1500mm as a guide) and
b. in internal and external walls and partitions it is between floor level and waist height (use 800mm as a guide). Exemptions include glazing in glasshouses, and panes of glass narrower than 250mm width but not less than 6mm thickness and not exceeding 0.5m²
There are key factors which need to be recorded in the survey of the glass as follows; thickness of pane, area of pane, whether there are barriers or screens which provide permanent protection from contact with the glass and whether glass is annealed, toughened or laminated.
Critical areas within a building are shown in the illustration below, the entire pane must meet the requirement, not just the risk area section.
Risks associated with glass may be grouped in one of two ways. They are generally classed as high, medium or low risk; or risk code 1 through 5. A High risk incorporates glazing covered by Regulation 14 which is highlighted in red (risk code 1) and green (risk code 2) on the diagram. High risk also covers risk code 3 (glazed balustrades) and risk code 4 (glazing in and around wet areas such as swimming pools and showers). In fact High risk covers all glass which you deem to be a 'high' risk, which would include any areas of special risk that is shown as blue on the illustration and classed as risk code 5 (such as glazing facing a play ground). Medium and low risks are associated with areas of glazing which are not an imminent risk but you have identified as being of a medium or low risk and may consider making them safe in the future.
Recognising which type of glass installed may be straight forward if the glass itself has been stamped upon its installation. If not, then gauges may be used to determine the thickness of the glass and findings recorded as such.
4. Record & Remedy
This step involves the actual carrying out of the glazing audit and the subsequent production of a glazing register. Applied Products are able to carry out this audit for your building and provide an end report which is descriptive and compiles all information required in a simple, easy to understand report which may be used for auditing and control of records.
The produced end report can be used to demonstrate to the HSE that the employer or duty holders are being proactive in working towards glazing compliancy in your buildings.
The glazing report can be used as a permanent record which can be updated. The report can also be used to show history of breakages of glass in any building high-lighting any areas which may be repeatedly broken. This can then be used as evidence that it may be better to use an alternative material in that location.