RR1150 - Review of window restrictors used in health and social care
Serious injuries and fatalities have occurred when people have fallen from windows in health and social care premises. A vulnerable person may fall unintentionally when they are in a confused mental state, such as a person with dementia, or as a deliberate act of self-harm. Window restrictors may be used as part of managing the risk of vulnerable people falling from windows. However, there is a lack of evidence-based advice on the minimum force that window restrictors should withstand for use in health and social care premises to protect vulnerable people.
This report describes research to identify the force that could reasonably be applied by an individual determined to open a window that is above waist height. The researchers reviewed: incidents involving window restrictors; standards for design, production and installation of window restrictors; and ergonomic data. The researchers suggest that for windows that are above waist height, window restrictors and their fixings should be capable of withstanding at least 850 N. This is based on an adult exerting a static push force with both hands, pushing outwards on a handle at shoulder height in a non-braced, forward leaning posture. Where adults can use excessive force, body weight, impact or momentum to try to break or open a window, it would not be appropriate to rely on a force guide of 850 N.
HSE Information Sheet ‘Falls from windows or balconies in health and social care’ HIS5 (2012) gives related information for providers of health and social care services.
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