Homeowners are accountable for the proper installation and sturdiness of their house fixtures. Ensuring that they don’t pose a safety hazard to the inhabitants as well as to outsiders is of utmost importance.
Window Safety has been a hot button topic due to the rising incidents of killer litter and of fatal falls due to negligence during window cleaning.
In this post, we’ll touch upon these aspects and rules & regulations that homeowners in Singapore ought to know about.
Window Safety for Homes with children
Child-proofing your windows is imperative if you have young ones at home. Yes, the grave danger of children climbing up and reaching out of an open window cannot be understated. Time & again we come across tragic news of young ones falling, many a times fatally.
So, if you have a climbing toddler at home play it safe by having one of these options in place –
- Install Window Grilles – This is a no-brainer solution even for homes without children. Its gives both safety and security always
- Keep Windows locked – If you paid millions of dollars for that unobstructed sea view and want to keep it grille-free, ensure that your windows are always closed and locked.
- Window Safety devices – The use of devices such as window safety locks and restrictors can prevent accidents from happening. And they’ll also allow you to keep the window ajar to enjoy the fresh air
Precautions for the Foreign Domestic Worker
Window cleaning comes with an inherent risk to the person cleaning them. There’s an obvious risk of falling off from the windows when one tries to clean them from the outside. And a fall from a height is likely to be fatal. In Singapore, foreign domestic workers cleaning window exteriors do not realize the seriousness of such risks since many of them do not come from a high rise living environment.
To uphold safety standards, the Ministry of Manpower has issued a ruling in this regard that maids will not be allowed to clean the window exteriors of high-rise HDB flats or apartments unless –
- The employer or adult representative of the employer is physically present to supervise the maid or
- Window grilles have been installed and are locked at all times during the cleaning process
Penalty for employers who fail to ensure these safety guidelines being followed is S$ 10,000 and/or 12 months jail. Besides, members of the public are also encouraged to report incidents on unsupervised and unsafe practices thru a photo-taking app (SNAP@MOM)
Killer Litter – Windows
Windows falling off from their rivets or frames on account of poor maintenance is one dreaded category of killer litter, which can be a serious threat to public safety. Incidents in the past, mostly involving Casement Windows has caused HDB & BCA to take a serious view of the matter. Guidelines have been published which residents must follow –
For Casement Windows –
- Replace Aluminium rivets to stainless steel ones.
- Check for Window screws that are loose or rusty
- Clean the rivets and lubricate them so as to keep movement of joints easy
For Sliding Windows –
- Clean bottom & top tracks so that the windows can slide smoothly
- Check Safety Stoppers for damage and change worn out stoppers
Besides raising awareness through exhibitions and roadshows, the authorities have conducted inspection checks in some housing estates. Penalties for failing to ensure that windows use the prescribed rivets are a fine of up to S$ 5,000 and six months jail, whereas for an incident of falling window it could be up to S$ 10,000 and 12 months jail.
Window Safety Days in Singapore
BCA has launched a bi-annual Window Safety Campaign that aims to remind homeowners to check on the fitness and maintenance of their windows. 6th June (06/06) and 12th December (12/12) are the dates that have been designated as Window Safety Days.
Posters and advertisements have been produced and displayed to help homeowners maintain their windows through three easy steps – Check, Clean and Change.
So, be earnest in taking precautions and knowing these regulations. Take note of the awareness campaigns and play your part in ensuring a safe living environment.
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