LCQ17: Safety of glass doors

Following is a question by the Dr Hon Lo Wai-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, in the Legislative Council today (October 18):
It has been reported that a few months ago, a glass door at the entrance to a department store suddenly fell down, crushing and injuring two staff members. A member of the public recently wrote to me relaying that a family member of him was crushed and injured by a falling glass door at the entrance to a building of a housing estate. The successive occurrence of accidents involving the falling down of glass doors has aroused concerns over the safety of glass doors.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the casualties resulting from accidents involving glass doors in each year since 2015 and, among such figures, the respective numbers of persons injured as a result of crushing by falling glass doors or pinching by electrically operated glass doors;
(2) whether the Government discussed, in the past three years, with the relevant professional bodies of the construction industry issues such as the design, materials, testing and maintenance of glass doors, with a view to implementing improvement measures (e.g. installation of an iron chain at the lintel) such that in the event of the hinges of a glass door coming off, the glass door will not fall down immediately; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) whether it will allocate additional resources to the relevant government departments for stepping up safety inspections and monitoring of various types of manually or electrically operated glass doors; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
In general, the erection of a glass door at a fence wall or at an entrance of a building is considered as "building works" under the Buildings Ordinance (BO) (Chapter 123) and its subsidiary legislation. Regardless of whether the works concerned are those that require the Buildings Department (BD)'s prior approval of plans and consent for commencement, minor works under the Minor Works Control System or exempted works, they are subject to regulation under the BO and the practice notes and codes issued by the BD. In particular, the BD has issued a practice note to provide guidelines for compliance by the building industry on the design, installation, maintenance and repair of metal gates at fence walls or entrances of buildings, which also apply to glass doors. The said practice note states that reference should be made to the "Code of Practice for Installation of Electrically Operated Sliding Gates, Sliding Glass Doors and Rolling Shutters" published by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) for electrically operated gates.

In consultation with the BD, the Fire Services Department (FSD) and the EMSD, the Development Bureau provides a consolidated reply as follows:

(1) Since 2015, the number of casualties involved in accidents each year related to glass doors for which the FSD received calls requesting for its rescue assistance at the scene is as follows (The FSD does not keep separate statistics on the respective number of persons injured as a result of being crushed by falling glass doors or pinched by electrically operated sliding glass doors) :

During the same period, the number of injuries caused by electrically operated sliding glass doors reported to the EMSD is as follows:

We do not have information on whether the two sets of figures above cover the same cases.

(2) As mentioned above, the erection of manual glass doors and electrically operated sliding glass doors is subject to the control of the BO as well as the practice notes and codes issued by the BD.  In general, glass doors should be properly designed and constructed to ensure their satisfactory and safe operation under the general conditions of use. The property owners and building managerial staff concerned should make sure that a glass door is installed properly and operated safely. They should also carry out regular repair and maintenance in respect of the glass door.
The construction industry generally accepts the relevant practice notes and codes. The Government will continue to maintain dialogue with the industry and review the relevant practice notes and codes if necessary.

(3) A property owner has the responsibility for repairing and managing his/her property and the common parts of the building, including installations such as manual glass doors and electrically operated sliding glass doors. Where the BD finds the works related to a glass door have been rendered dangerous or are liable to become dangerous, he may, by order under the BO, require the relevant owner to carry out rectification or remedial works. Currently, the Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme being implemented by the BD already covers the inspection of manual glass doors and electrically operated sliding glass doors in the common parts of a building to ensure the safety of such facilities.
Regarding electrically operated sliding glass doors, although statistics revealed that the risk of relevant accidents is not substantial, the EMSD will continue to monitor the operation of electrically operated sliding glass doors in accordance with relevant codes of practice.

Ends/Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:30