Serious injuries and fatalities have occurred when people have fallen from or through windows in health and social care premises.
There are three broad categories of falls. These are:
Health and social care providers must assess risks at their premises. Where assessment identifies the risk of falling against or through glazing, adequate precautions must be taken. These may include provision of suitable safety film, replacement with safety glass or provision of barriers. Glass doors and patio windows should also be fitted (in accordance with building regulations and British Standards) with toughened or safety glass or covered with a protective safety film.
Where assessment identifies that people using care services are at risk from falling from windows or balconies at a height likely to cause harm (eg above ground floor level), suitable precautions must be taken. Windows that are large enough to allow people to fall out should be restrained sufficiently to prevent such falls. The opening should be restricted to 100 mm or less. Window restrictors should only be able to be disengaged using a special tool or key (see NHS guidance in Health Technical Memorandum No 55). Access may need to be restricted to balconies that are not designed to prevent people who are at risk from climbing over.