How to Keep Your Business Premises Well Ventilated, and Secure

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that employers must ensure there is adequate ventilation in enclosed areas of their workplace.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that employers must ensure there is adequate ventilation in enclosed areas of their workplace. But if you’re relying on natural ventilation and need to leave windows open to allow fresh air to circulate, how do you make sure you don’t leave your business open to a security risk?

Workplace ventilation and window security

Ventilation is the process of bringing in fresh air from outside and removing indoor air, which may be stale, hot and humid because of work machinery and processes, or contain pollutants and other impurities.

The HSE has recently published new guidance to help businesses comply with their duty to provide sufficient fresh air under health and safety law.

Under Regulation 6 of the Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations, employers must ‘ensure that every enclosed workplace is ventilated by a sufficient quantity of fresh or purified air’.

Not only is it the law to provide sufficient fresh air, but studies have shown that good ventilation in the workplace is associated with:

  • Improved health
  • Better concentration
  • Higher levels of satisfaction with an environment
  • Lower rates of absence from work
  • Better quality of sleep
  • Reduced exposure to a wide range of air pollutants

Ventilation can be natural, or mechanical or a combination of the two. The chosen method of ventilation will depend on the building, and employers need to decide which options work best for their particular workplace. If that method is natural ventilation, then it will be down to the likes of doors, windows and other openings such as trickle vents, air bricks or grilles to provide air.

If you are relying on open windows to provide natural ventilation for your premises, then you’re going to need to make sure that those open windows do not pose a security threat.

Bearing in mind that unforced break-ins will rarely qualify for an insurance payout, and that opportunistic intruders target windows as they can offer easier access than doors, it’s vital to check whether your windows could provide a way in without staff noticing.

How to ensure adequate natural ventilation whilst keeping your premises secure?

There are various ways in which you can make sure your open windows don’t provide a way in for intruders.

Start with the basics

Start by checking how your windows look from the outside. Remove potential access points where you can. For example, are there waste bins or anything that could be used to reach windows? Stacked up pallets for example? If so, be sure to either move objects, or fix them in place so they can’t be shifted into place and used as an aid to reach an open window.

Window security bars

Securing a window with bars is one of the most effective ways of preventing a break-in whilst the window is open. However, before you put bars up at your windows, you’ll need to check current fire regulations. Window bars can hinder escape in the event of a fire, so you’ll want to make sure you choose a product that can be removed without delay with the push of a quick-release lever. Just make sure that lever can’t be accessed from the outside, allowing an intruder to release the bar and gain entry.

Window restrictors / ventilation window locks

Window restrictors are designed to prevent windows opening more than a set distance. This distance is usually around 10cm, allowing for ventilation, but preventing anyone from being able to get in through the window from the outside.

Restrictors can be solid (usually steel) arms or cables. Whilst they can be unlocked from the inside, allowing you to fully open the window where necessary, they are not designed to lock a window in the closed position. You’ll need fit-for-purpose window locks for that.

Window sash stops

If your building is fitted with sliding sash windows, you have the option to fit a lockable sash stop. These allow you to leave a 10cm gap for ventilation, whilst locking the window in place.

Sash stops are fitted on the upper sash, preventing the sashes from sliding over each other. They’ll either be protruding bolts that are removed with a key, or bolts that are extracted manually.

Motion sensors

Motion sensors fitted close to an open window will detect when someone is moving around nearby. Once movement is detected, an alarm will be activated, or a smart device alert sent.

Due consideration needs to be given to the siting of the motion sensors so that they are not set off unnecessarily, for example by a gust of wind coming through the window. They are also not suitable for occupied workspaces.

Looking for a solution to keep your business premises ventilated but secure at the same time?

If you are seeking expert guidance on keeping your business premises safe whilst ensuring you provide a well-ventilated workplace, talk to Barry Bros Security. We have been taking care of the security needs of businesses of all sizes throughout London and beyond for more than seven decades.

Our showroom in central London is staffed by experts ready and waiting to provide you with tailored assistance. You can also give us a call or drop us a line to arrange an onsite visit.

How Can We Help?

Regardless of the type of premises you are looking to protect, Barry Bros Security has the solution. Contact us today for expert advice and the benefit of decades of experience in the security industry.