Safety alert published

Wednesday 12 Jun 2019

Industries and topics

  • Education
  • Child care services
  • Safe design

Background

This safety alert is an update to an alert originally published on 31 August 2017.

Recently a 5-year-old child at an early childcare education and care service leaned on a window which dislodged, smashing the glass.

The child was hospitalised after sustaining a severe wrist laceration.

Safety issues

Following this incident, WorkSafe conducted visits to early childhood education and care services, and observed a number of windows and doors with glass panels or inserts that may be a safety risk.

Glass panels in schools and early childhood and care services can be particularly vulnerable to human impact, for example, when a person mistakes a fixed panel for a doorway or opening.

Recommended ways to control risks

The Australian Standard (AS 1288-2006 Glass in buildings – Selection and installation) sets out the procedures to select and install glass in buildings subject to wind loading, human impact and special applications such as overhead glazing, balustrades and glass assemblies.

To reduce the risks associated with glass panels in early childhood education and care services WorkSafe recommends that duty holders comply with AS 1288-2006 and also:

  • arrange for a glazier to attend the workplace to audit all windows and glass doors and identify which windows and doors conform with marking requirements, such as opaque or translucent strips designed to alert a person that there is glass.
  • replace or protect glass from impact in medium or high impact zones if it does not have a legible and permanent marking that identifies it as safety glass
  • fit safety glass or thicker annealed glass in areas of a building which are prone to human impact. The likelihood of a person receiving cutting or piercing injuries will be minimised by the increased thickness or characteristics of the glass
  • ensure people know where glass is located by making it as visible as possible. For example, use stiles, bars or by making the glass opaque
  • if glass in a door or side panel is not obvious, mark it to be visible
  • treat glass with a product that prevents glass from shattering if broken
  • guard glass with barriers that prevent children from striking or falling against the glass
  • regularly conduct inspections of the workplace, including all areas with glass.

Note:

These risk control measures should also be considered when designing an early childhood education and care service. This includes all indoor and outdoor spaces and structures and taking the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of injuries that can result from glass breakage.

Legal duties

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act), an employer must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons other than employees of the employer are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the conduct of the undertaking of the employer.

Further information

  • AS 1288 – 2006 Glass in buildings - Selection and installation
  • AS/NZS 2208 – 1996 Safety glazing materials in buildings
  • AS 2047 - 2014 Windows and external glazed doors in buildings

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