Window & Balcony Safety

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Published: 17 May 2022

As we approach the warmer months guests will want to open windows and access balconies on a more frequent basis. With demand increasing, now is a good time to review and assess the window and balcony safety for your premises.

It is important that as a business you make a precautionary judgement as to the safety of windows, terraces and balconies; and this should be facilitated through the completion of a risk assessment.

If windows, terraces and balconies are designed in the same way throughout a building then a general assessment may be sufficient in identifying potential hazards such as persons or objects falling, evaluating the likelihood of this happening and detailing how controls help to reduce it further.

If, however, building design/ age means that window/ balcony/ terrace styles vary then specific assessments may be required for specific areas.

Factors to consider when evaluating risks associated with windows, terraces and balconies: - (the list is not exhaustive)

-           The height above ground level of the window / balcony / terrace.

-           The integrity and condition of the window / balcony / terrace fabric.

-           The positioning of furniture / planters near windows / balconies / terrace which have the effect of lowering the balcony/ terrace or windowsill height.

-           The level of supervision/ management control in the vicinity of the window/ balcony/ terrace.

-           The efficacy of a smoking policy. (Does this give rise to unauthorised smoking in areas that compromise safety?)

-           The nature of clientele – families, children, students. Behaviour patterns and alcohol/ substance abuse.

-           Existing levels of signage/ information on safe use.

-           Maintenance/ housekeeping checks and records.

-          Balconies and terrace railings must meet building regulation requirements at the time of the build; these are not retrospective. The height of barrier, handrails on balconies and terraces should be at least 1.1m high.  Consider additional protections if balconies are to be accessed by children; inhibit climbing and consideration for the protection of falling objects. Gaps should not exceed 100mm.

Actions recommended

  • Complete or review separate risk assessments on the use of windows and (where applicable) balconies and terraces.
  • Ensure that window restrictors are fitted correctly on windows that could be a risk if open. Restricted windows should open no more than 100mm. (10cm)
  • Ensure that there is a method in place for checking that the restrictors are operating effectively. Housekeeping staff should have this on their room servicing checklist.
  • Balconies and terrace railings must meet building regulation requirements at the time of the build; these are not retrospective. The height of barrier, handrails on balconies and terraces should be at least 1.1m high.  Consider additional protections if balconies are to be accessed by children; inhibit climbing and consideration for the protection of falling objects. Gaps should not exceed 100mm.

For further advice or support please contact the CSC Head Office.

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