Glass Safety at Work – Risk Assessments and UK Regulations

Any occupation which involves working with glass needs to be carried out very carefully. Glass safety at work needs proper risk assessments and knowledge of UK regulations. From glass ornament makers to bottling plants, glass has the potential to cause serious injury if it is handled incorrectly. It can inflict severe cuts and other serious injuries.

In terms of the health and safety of working with glass, most legislation deals with issues relating to glass in windows and doors in workplaces. It also relates to the work of glaziers and installers. Anybody who works with glass, will be required to follow legislation in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.


Safety Legislation on Glass Manufacture and Installation

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations of 1992 included specific requirements for glazing. These were backed up when they also implemented Regulation 14 which formed part of the EC Workplace Directive.

Regulation 14 has safety requirements for windows or any kind of other transparent surface in the workplace. This can be areas such as doors, partitions, and gates. They should be made of safety materials, protected against breakage, or marked with a clear workplace safety sign.

This directive only applies in cases where there may be a risk of people suffering an accident or injury by coming into direct contact with the glass, or as a result of it breaking by some other means. Regulation 14 only says that additional precautions must be taken “where necessary for reasons of health and safety.” Therefore, a full risk assessment is vital.


Glass Safety Risk Assessments

The types of issues of concern when it comes to a risk assessment being carried out are:-

  • The location of the glazing.
  • The amount of people plus any traffic that will be passing by in close proximity.
  • The type of activities which are taking place close to the glazing itself.

Doors and gates are particularly vulnerable where the surface which is either translucent or transparent is at or below shoulder level and in objects like windows, partitions and glass walls, if they are at waist height or below, they also constitute a greater element of risk.


How to Minimise Glass Safety Risks at Work

Steps to minimise the risk of injury or accidents include re-routing pedestrians or vehicles or erecting barriers. to prevent people coming into close contact with any glazing. Applying a safety film, will also help to prevent glass shattering should it get broken. Visibly marking it will also let people nearby to be aware of glass and stop them from bumping into it.

Safety Glass

These days, technological advancements have meant that glass productsare a lot safer than they were previously. Today British Standard 6262: Part 4: 1994 Code of Practice for Glazing for Buildings states that glazing used in ‘critical locations’ (such as those which have been described above) in buildings must be safe.

There is now toughened, laminated and wired glass which all help to improve safety and reduce the risk of injury.

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