The Health and Safety Inspectorate have investigated instances of people walking into large expanses of transparent glass which were not immediately apparent. In some circumstances these have resulted in serious lacerations and / or concussion.
Most people are aware of the potential for glass to break upon impact and cause injury, but not everyone can perceive a potential risk. Children do not have the same perception of risk so you need to give more consideration to areas that they are likely to use.
Glazing in some locations is more vulnerable to human impact than others, known as ‘critical locations’ these include:
- in and around doors (particularly in side panels which may be mistaken for doors)
- at low levels in walls and partitions
Every employer, or person having control over workplace premises, needs to carry out an assessment of glazing on the premises. You should provide a suitable standard of glazing in all critical locations, or take appropriate steps to protect the glass against breakage. This is particularly important in premises used regularly by children or other vulnerable people who may have a lower perception of risk.
Guidance on the appropriate measures for controlling the risks from human impact are included below. An experienced glazier will also advise you on the appropriate standards of glass.
Wide expanses of glass
Where there are large areas of transparent glazing you will need some form of manifestation (positioned between 600mm and 1500mm above floor level at appropriate horizontal intervals) unless it's well indicated by mullions, door frames, large door handles or other components of the glazing system.
The risk of human impact with this type of glazing is greatest if adjacent areas within the same building, or immediately outside it, are at the same level whereby a person may reasonably assume unimpeded passage from one part to another.
Such areas should be identified and managed as part of the glazing assessment.
Every employer has a legal duty under Article 5 of the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 (the HSW Law) to make sure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that customers and members of the public, are not exposed to risks to their health and safety as a result of the business activities. This extends to the provision of safe premises, including glazing.
Although there are no prescriptive requirements relating to glazing within the HSW Law, reference would be made to recognised standards and guidance to illustrate the requirements needed to meet the general duties under the Law.
British Standard 6206:1981 ‘Specification for impact performance requirements for flat safety glass and safety plastics for use in buildings’.
British Standard BS EN 12600:2002 ‘Glass in building. Pendulum test. Impact test method and classification for flat glass’
The Building Bye-Laws (Jersey) 1997. Code of Practice ‘Technical Guidance Document Part 10: Glazing – Safety and Protection
You can get further information and guidance on glazing-related safety from the Health and Safety Inspectorate.