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Preventing falls from windows and Juliette balconies

06 June 2019

In light of recent incidents, the Inspectorate is undertaking an initiative to advise those within the hospitality industry of their legal duties with regard to window safety, which in the first instance requires an assessment of falls from windows to be carried out.

Within a 5 month period, one person has died and another sustained life-changing injuries after falling, in separate incidents involving different premises, from a hotel window in Jersey. In addition, a hotel guest sustained serious injury after falling from a Juliette balcony. A number of similar serious and fatal accidents have also occurred in the UK in recent years, some involving children.

The Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 requires those in control of premises, including hotels and guest houses, to assess and control the significant and foreseeable risk of a fall from windows. The risk assessment should take into account factors such as the design and location of the windows and typical guest/customer profiles. Where the assessment identifies that people are at risk from falling from windows or Juliette balconies at a height likely to cause harm (e.g. above ground floor level), suitable precautions must be taken.

Risk assessment

Guidance on carrying out a risk assessment, including a risk assessment template, is available via the Health and Safety Inspectorate website.  There is also further information regarding risk assessment available via the UK Health and Safety Executive website.

Further information on risk assessments

Control measures

Suitable control measures may include:

  • fitting adequate window restrictors
  • fitting an adequate screen or barrier to prevent access to a window or balcony edge
  • ensuring balconies have edge protection that is sufficiently robust
  • ensuring balconies have edge protection that is of suitable design (including height, and the size of any openings in it), to prevent accidental falls

Window restrictors

Where people have access to windows large enough to allow them to fall out and be harmed, those windows should be restrained sufficiently to prevent such falls. Window restrictors should:

  • restrict the window opening to 100 mm or less
  • be suitably robust to withstand a foreseeable force applied by an individual determined to open the window further
  • be sufficiently robust to withstand damage (either deliberate or from general wear)
  • be robustly secured using tamper-proof fittings so they cannot be removed or easily disengaged using readily accessible implements. A special tool or key would be required

Inspectorate action

The Health and Safety Inspectorate will be carrying out a series of inspections to a cross-section of the industry to check that a suitable window risk assessment has been carried out and appropriate action taken where necessary. The inspections will be undertaken in the latter part of summer to early autumn period.

Should you require any further information, please contact the Health and Safety Inspectorate on 447300 or via email at hsi@gov.je

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