National window safety week: Expert advice in light of tragedies

A safety expert is warning of the dangers of wide-open windows after two tragedies hit the headlines.

A 44-year-old woman died in Southampton after falling from her first-floor flat and in Malaga, a 14-week old baby was killed as she slipped from a fifth-floor apartment.

It comes a month after a window fell and broke from the fifth floor of a block of flats in Kilburn, North London. Miraculously, nobody was hurt.

In National Window Safety Week, Eric Collins, MD of Jackloc, (based in Lutterworth Leicestershire is passing on advice to keep people safe.

He said: “These incidences are heart-breaking and more awareness is needed to stop this happening.

Eric said his top tips are:

  • Maintain the safety of your windows with regular checks
  • If you have a landlord who is responsible for this, ensure they fulfil their responsibilities
  • Don’t have your window wide open.
  • Install a trusted window restrictor where possible
  • Know its quality standards
  • Keep furniture away from windows
  • Talk to children about what to do in a fire

Previously, Eric had urged hotel owners and student landlords to ensure windows remained safe amid government guidelines on allowing fresh air inside to stem the spread of Covid.

WHO guidance is to have natural air ventilation in buildings to help reduce the spread of infection of Covid. All public organisations have a legal duty to keep people safe, with experts warning this means they shouldn’t open windows too wide.

This was an on-going concern for people quarantining in hotels, Eric said.

Eric says hotel and student accommodation sectors should follow an example set by the care industry, where window safety is paramount at all times – not just during a pandemic.

Eric said: “Now more than ever owners of hospitality businesses and student accommodation need to know that people they welcome to their premises are safe.

“Window restrictors are used in hotels all over the world but there is still room for improvement. This is a pressing concern as people now have to quarantine in hotels where owners are rightly concerned about the spread of Covid.

“Sadly, we do read of dreadful accidents where people lose their lives after falling from a height through a window. Preventing tragedies like this is something we can prevent with the right guidance and safety measures.

“Every building’s windows may have different safety requirements and it’s vital that owners find reputable advice on what’s needed. The care industry is a great example of where window safety is a priority and will always be considered during any risk assessment.

“All sectors should follow that example. The last thing anyone needs right now is for building owners to be cutting corners to save costs or effort.”