Glass Safety Legislation – the law and glazing
Safety Window Film and Glass Manifestation can be installed to glazing to meet the minimum standards set out in current glass safety legislation, or the extended/additional standards (based on individual risk) set out in the workplace regulations.
Your legal responsibilities with regard to glazing are governed by two key areas;
- Building Regulations
- These apply to all new build and major refurbishments
- They set out minimum standards that glazing must satisfy
- The regulations cover aspects such as the energy efficiency of buildings and the safety of glazing.
- Workplace Regulations
- These apply to existing glazing in the workplace
- They cover aspects such as glazing safety, thermal comfort and shading
- The regulations covering safety are based on the subjective assessment of risk according to building use and occupancy.
Glazing may meet the standards set out in the Building Regulations yet may not be of a sufficient standard to meet those set out in the Workplace Regulations. This is because building regulations are minimum guideline standards, whereas workplace regulations are based upon the actual level of risk according to the building type, use, and occupancy.
Glass and glazing must be compliant with both sets of regulations to satisfy current glass safety legislation.
Building Regulations (2010)
Document L – Conservation of Fuel and Power
Document L aims to improve the energy efficiency of both new and existing buildings by prescribing maximum U Values, and also gives guidance that;
“Reasonable provision shall be made for the conservation of fuel and power in buildings by: Limiting heat gains and losses….. through thermal elements and other parts of the building fabric” (i.e. glazing)
Solar Window Film can upgrade glazing to reduce Solar Heat Gain by up to 85% – helping to satisfy the criteria above.
Document M – Access and facilities for disabled people (2004)
Part N (Covered below) required manifestation to be installed at 1500mm height to increase the safety of glazing. However this did not take into account children, small adults, and mobility vehicle riders, which breached the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (2005). Therefore a new regulation, Document M – Access to and Use of Buildings, was issued. This required greater manifestation at two height ranges, in order to protect those listed above.
Document M States that:
“People with visual impairment should be in no doubt as to the location of the glass entrance doors, especially when they are within a glazed screen. The choice of a different style of manifestation for the door and the glazed screen can help to differentiate between them.
The presence of the door should be apparent not only when it is shut but also when it is open. Where it can be held open, steps should be taken to avoid people being harmed by walking into the door.”
For more information please see our section on glass manifestation regulations.
Document N – Glazing Safety
Document N aims to improve the safety of glazing, and gives guidance that;
“Glazing, with which people are likely to come into contact whilst moving in or about the building, shall if broken on impact, break in a way which is unlikely to cause injury”
“Manifestation of glazing is necessary in critical locations in which people moving in or about the building might not be aware of the presence of glazing”
Document N specifies “critical locations” which are considered to be high risk and therefore must be upgraded according to the above. A diagram showing these locations can be seen in our Regulation 14 Section
The application of safety window film to existing glazing to upgrade it to be in accordance with EN12600 (2B2) safety standards is still the most widely used method since Regulation 14 was implemented in 1992. Safety window films are completely clear and virtually invisible when installed.
Regulation 7 – Thermal comfort
Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces.
Solar Window film can reduce Solar Heat Gain by up to 85% – providing a more comfortable working environment for employees. It can act as a passive control measure to help achieve compliance of Regulation 7 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
For more information please see our section on Thermal Comfort Legislation.
Regulation 11 – Workstations
Regulation 11 deals specifically with workstations in order that they are adequate and comfortable for the employee that uses them. It states that;
“every workstation shall be so arranged that it is suitable both for any person at work in the workplace who is likely to work at that workstation and for any work of the undertaking which is likely to be done there”
“workstations should be arranged so that each task can be carried out safely and comfortably”
If glare is present on computer screens and visual display units, it could be argued that the workstation is not correctly arranged and that the employee is unable to work comfortably.
Solar Window Film can reduce glare by up to 87% – providing a more comfortable working environment for employees.
Regulation 14 – The Safety of Glazing
Regulation 14 is a legal obligation that requires those responsible for the glazing to undertake a risk assessment of their premises, identify areas of risk, and then;
- Reduce the likelihood of glass breakage occurrence by increasing glass visibility.
- Reduce the effects of glass breakage when it does occur by ensuring that the glass breaks safely.
It is the largest and most important section of glass safety legislation.
For more information please see our Regulation 14 Section.
If you require further information on glass safety legislation speak to one of our glazing safety advisors on 0333 800 2400 today.
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