Written By: Brad Campbell | March 7, 2022
Windows are an important feature of hospitals, psychiatric wards, and other medical facilities. They serve a number of vital purposes, including allowing natural light in and letting patients see outside.
Both natural light and views of the outdoors are proven to reduce stress and anxiety, which can be very helpful to patients who may be going through a very difficult time in their lives. However, windows also present safety and security issues in hospitals and psychiatric facilities.
Standard windows are incredibly easy to break, so they provide a potential exit point for unwanted egress. Broken glass can also be used by mentally unwell patients to harm themselves or others. This is why medical and mental health facilities need human impact-resistant hospital windows.
Human impact-resistant windows are designed to resist impacts from humans using their fists or the full weight of their bodies. They are also able to withstand blows from other heavy objects that patients may gain access to in order to try and break a window.
Hospital windows intended to prevent egress and self harm must undergo human impact testing to gain certification as human impact resistant windows.
Human impact testing is performed under controlled conditions in a laboratory setting. A security glazing manufacturer seeking human impact certification for their products provides a series of samples to the testing lab, and they then undergo a series of specific impact tests.
If the tests do not penetrate, shatter, dislodge, or otherwise compromise the strength of the glazing, the samples pass the test and the products can be certified as human impact resistant.
Human impact-resistant windows can be made from a variety of different glazing materials, including laminated security glass, polycarbonate, and glass-clad polycarbonate.
Polycarbonate-based glazing is the best option for hospital windows because, being plastic, they are virtually unbreakable. Polycarbonate looks and feels like regular window glass, but it will not break or shatter due to human impacts or other high-force impacts.
When hospital windows are protected by polycarbonate, they still provide all the benefits of natural light and views to patients, but they are completely safe and secure.
Besides mitigating the risks of egress, self harm, and harm to others in hospitals and psychiatric facilities, impact-resistant windows provide a full range of other safety and security benefits.
For hospitals in hurricane zones, exterior windows can be protected on both sides with security glazing shields. This protects the glass against human impacts on the inside, and acts as a storm damage mitigation barrier on the outside.
In other words, if a flying piece of storm debris impacts the outside surface of the window, the glass won’t shatter dangerously inwards, which could cause injury to staff and patients and leave the hospital exposed to wind and water damage.
Human impact windows can also be forced entry-rated, to prevent burglary and other unwanted intrusions through hospital windows. As hospitals are full of expensive medical equipment and prescription medications, the threat of burglary is very real.
For medical facilities that need to upgrade their safety and security protocols, impact windows are one of the most cost-effective ways to harden the entire building’s security.
Traditional solutions for egress and forced entry prevention, like window bars, make mental health facilities and hospitals look and feel like jails, which is unsightly and detrimental to patient mental health.
On the other hand, polycarbonate security glazing fortifies buildings without making them look fortified. This is ideal for medical facilities, where you want people to feel welcome and as comfortable as possible at all times.
Impact-resistant security glazing protects against:
Yes! We offer a range of human impact tested and certified security glazing products, including our ArmorPlast® line of polycarbonate security glazing.
For hospital and other healthcare facility applications, we most often recommend our containment-grade ArmorPlast® AP25 glazing panels. AP25 offers the perfect balance between strength and cost.
AP25 glazing shields are non-ballistic (not bullet resistant) polycarbonate sheets that are human impact, hurricane large missile, and forced entry rated.
All our ArmorPlast® products are fully retrofit solutions, meaning they are designed to be fitted over your existing windows and other glass surfaces — there’s no need for glass removal or replacement.
AP25’s accompanying security framing fits into or onto your existing framing systems, securely protecting the glass behind from all types of high-force impacts. The crystal-clear polycarbonate doesn’t noticeably alter the appearance of your windows, and it doesn’t block out natural light or inhibit views. The security framing has a sleek profile, so AP25 doesn’t significantly alter the outward appearance of your building, either.
These features make AP25 ideal for hospitals, psychiatric wards, and other medical facilities where human impacts and other safety and security risks are concerns.
AP25 containment-grade glazing shields are also ideal for:
For even better human impact protection for hospital windows, we recommend pairing ArmorPlast® AP25 with our Gen II security framing.
This security framing uses a sophisticated system of shock-absorbing gaskets to disperse the force of impacts on the surface of the glazing. When someone or something impacts any part of the security glazing, the shock gaskets allow unrestricted movement at the edges of the infill, dispersing the shock waves from the impact site.
Gen II framing is designed to withstand even the most determined, prolonged attacks with heavy tools. For medical facilities, this provides the ultimate line of fenestration security to mitigate safety and security risks.
Contact our team of security glass experts today for more information about hospital window glazing products or to schedule a free consultation.