“A few weeks ago, there was a reported incident at Medway Maritime Hospital,” says Toby Staff, Managing Director at Newstar Door Controls. “A man suffered serious injuries after falling 20 feet from a hospital ward window. He suffered a fractured skull, hip and jaw. The hospital confirmed that a patient on one of the wards fell from a ledge after forcing a window open and climbing out, according to the Executive Director of Nursing.
“We have known for five years that that the force testing of window restrictors to BS EN 13126-5:2011 does not adequately address the excessive application of pressure, as it was detailed in Department of Health, Estate and Facilities Alert EFA/2013/002.
“The DOH stated that the forced opening test, which is a maximum of 500N, is insufficient and in mental health facilities there is a requirement for higher levels of strength than the standard.
“As well as the advice from the Health and Safety Executive guidelines “HBN 00-10 Part D: windows and associated hardware” should be followed, which states that windows must not expose people to risk in regard to health and safety or location. There should also be a review of risk assessments, inspection and maintenance systems. All installed windows should be inspected to ensure they are adequate for the purpose intended and meet regulations.
“In particular we recommend inspecting areas where there is potential for abuse from excessive force or the potential to defeat the window restrictor by the insertion of a blade such as a screwdriver, thin knife or scissors. Cubelock can provide solutions should inspections highlight potential weaknesses.
“This recent incident at Medway Maritime Hospital shows the importance of auditing windows and window restrictors already fitted to assess if they are fit for purpose.
“At Cubelock we have re-tested our products to far higher levels of strength to show exactly how they perform. BS EN 13126-5:2011 requires a holding force of 500N, but we have tested to more than triple that, with CLB1 reaching 1907N, and CLS1 and CLP1 both attaining 1971N. Indeed, when these two products are working in tandem (i.e. CLB and CLS or CLP) we have achieved a holding force of 5250N exceeding the requirement over 10 times the maximum requirement.
“The test results show that the strength of Cubelock restrictors far outweighs what’s required by the current standard. It offers facilities managers within medical buildings a more robust window restrictor to keep patients safe. Furthermore, we offer many solutions to upgrade your existing window restrictor depending on how the end user determines it Health and Safety needs.”