Glass Safety Risk Assessment

Our Glass Safety Risk Assessment service has been put together to give you, the client, piece of mind that you will be compliant with ALL health and safety & Building regulations associated with glass in a commercial property.

The need to assess glass risk in any UK premises is paramount. In terms of being able to show compliance with the law and to maintain status for negligence insurance. But mainly to prevent dreadful injury from glass breaking under impact.

 

A glass safety risk assessment should be more than just a “Tick the box” exercise. We have seen this on so many occasions and it doesn’t actually help you in the long run. Everything is fine until there is an accident and someone is hurt by a pane of glass that should be up to legal standard on that day. Then when you need to rely on that “tick the box” evidence, it could let you down at the time you most need it to work for you.

That’s why our Glass safety risk assessment service is the most thorough of it’s kind.

The questions below will give a better insight into the process and are aimed at promoting a better sense of glass risk assessing and auditing.

A thorough, yet restricted, appraisal of glass fitted within a given set of premises.

Restricted to the extent that only glass needing to combat a stated threat is to be assessed. That said, when a certain threat, ie blast damage or terrorist action, is the main fear, a risk assessment can turn per se into a full audit.

Has close similarities to a basic risk assessment and is a thorough examination of the glass and glazing in a given set of premises. It can take glass risk as a separate entity into its mandate and comment upon safe glass policy and issues.

An audit records all panes of glass in as great a detail as possible. It identifies glass by its type, glazing configuration, exact position, gauge and size. It might pinpoint specific places in the glazing stock in need of protection.

The client might have a specific use in mind, possibly not related to immediate action.

A proper glass audit is sometimes commissioned by a client seeking a management tool to resolve a pressing issue.

Often the client might wish to set a baseline with an audit, from which he could track damage or general replacement of glass. Staff would have a basis for regular updating of information or for keeping a watching brief upon a previous glass risk assessment.

1. The issue of objectivity – DIY risk assessing

This is the one major issue to confront at the very outset, or indeed, before the matter of risk is even taken up for consideration. Objectivity is a basic need where risk and general auditing is concerned.

A fully objective view of risk, as well as of its linked level of threat, must be quite cold blooded. Nothing but objectivity on the part of a chosen assessor will do.

Any company can employ its own staff to assess on a DIY basis. It has got the right, after all. So why not?

Long experience shows that those with no basic knowledge of glass and of its risks tend to work on the principle of “that’s OK”. That is quite natural and, of course it might be OK.

Until, that is, a person walks into a window pane which fails to comply with safe glass laws.

Then the HSE could say, “That’s not OK.” And that will not be at all funny. In fact, it could turn out to be very sad on a range of levels – not least of which is when any injury occurs.

2. The issue of objectivity – free or claused risk assessing and auditing

An offer of glass risk assessment or auditing, often punted as free of charge, can come from a wide number of sources. Some are not involved with glass at any level, but may have some service or other to promote. Some may well be involved with glass in some respect, but are looking to cover survey expenses within a later quote.

Let’s be clear.

If you don’t pay for it, an assessment or an audit has little legal validity in law

If you don’t pay for it, the cost might be in the bill for some other service

UK commerce reels under a credibility gap. Everyone else’s job is easy. A locksmith can be working in a hospital and, thinking brain surgery looks quite simple, sets up a separate his own unit to compete.

On the other hand, the brain surgeon can watch the locks being changed, think that it’s pretty easy and decide to fill his spare time as a locksmith.

Is that a joke? Yes, of course, it is. But similar things are rife in the world of modern safety and glass is prone to attracting unskilled opinion.

3. The issue of objectivity – independent risk assessing and auditing

This route offers the objectivity needed to complete the work. It is still a commercial choice for a client. Who has the experience, what are the costs, who offers the best support?

It is vital to obtain the independent point of view, without it being a mere front for or being configured by another unspecified service.

4. The issue of threat

This is the start point for any consideration of risk. It is the type and scale of that threat which drives the need to judge a proper course of action. And to offer a considered opinion to a client.

In essence, the type of building structure, its use, the people working in or visiting it and, of course, the glass itself need to be weighed up and taken into account.

A professional risk assessor will take the detail and align it to the threat being posed to or anticipated by the client. It is rare for a suitable, handy result to be found in a report or on a piece of paper. It requires knowledge and experience to sift the wheat from the chaff. Plus judgement to consider the facts and to submit a balanced case without fear or favour.

Only so much may be gained from talking with the client, by looking at plans and by carrying out background research. So looking at a site in person is basic to risk assessing.

In schools and leisure centres, where safe glass is an issue, it is vital to see how people move about the premises and how close such movement is to low level glass.

Where blast is a factor, a visit can show the best means to contain pressure ingress through the glass. And to reduce its ability to circulate around the premises.

It is most helpful in many cases to speak with staff or others working at the site. These have a fund of local knowledge. They can provide better insight into a problem, as well as a pointer to a suitable course of action.

Both types of glass inspection will demand a written report to identify all the glass under consideration. Glass panes should be easily identifiable and, if necessary, each pane accounted for and with an explanation.

A report should give all the facts needed to assist a client to come to a decision over a future course of action.

Background information is always an aid to grasping a concept. Relevant photos, plans or drawings can be of immense use in promoting understanding of any complex situation.

This is at a client’s discretion. A written report is a basic need, but a verbal summary can be more than useful. As is walking the site. Both before and after a report has been seen and read by the client.

It is essential that any report be in a format showing that it is specific to the task at hand. A stereotyped “one size fits all” report will undermine confidence in the report and in the whole process.

An experienced assessor will always set aside time for the client to discuss any aspect of a risk assessment or an audit, its findings and the final report.

For further information and to make an inquiry about this service, please contact us via our contact us page.

Alternatively, you might want to speak with a representative directly.

To speak with Colin Allen, please call 01379 852098

To speak with James Allen, please call 01394 215699