Restricting windows shouldn’t be a university challenge

Now students have settled into their new lodgings, universities are being urged to ensure that all campus accommodation windows are suitably secure, and reminded that if they’re not, the cost and effort to make them safe is minimal compared with the potential consequences of death or injury.

“Heart breaking news reports of students falling or jumping from the windows of their accommodation are becoming more commonplace,” Toby Staff, managing director of Newstar Door Controls, said.

“Universities have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that window restrictors are in place and fully operational, and that windows can’t be opened beyond the British Standard span of 100mm.

“The Health and Safety Executive advises that ‘windows that are large enough to allow people to fall out should be restrained sufficiently to prevent such falls and window restrictors should only be able to be disengaged using a special tool or key’.

“It’s highly recommended to fit a restrictor that’s not only strong enough to prevent a window being forced open, but also robust and complex enough not to be unlocked by anything other than the correct key.”

The Cubelock Premier window restrictor is designed with a triple lock high security mechanism that provides extra student protection from attack by non-key holders. Cubelock keys have been designed with three teeth, making it almost impossible to ‘pick’ the safe lock action restrictor with an alternative instrument, the company said. In addition, if the lock is tampered with to the point of breaking, it will fail in the locked position.

The restrictors require four screws to fit each one, and many can be installed over a short period of time.

Certass TA recently released its Good Practice Fitting Window Restrictors 2019 Technical Sheet, explaining best practice principles to follow.

Jon Vanstone, chair at Certass Trade Association, said: “Using the Health and Safety Executive recommendations across the board would give appropriate protection in domestic buildings – from high-rise student accommodation to your average three bed semi-detached family home and everything in between.”