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Wired Glass Injuries Remain in Litigation

Post Time:Mar 30,2012Classify:Industry NewsView:350


While the use of traditional wired glass has been barred in hazardous locations since 2006, the product is still the focus of litigation, says Greg Abel, founder of


Abel founded the not-for-profit organization Advocates for Safe Glass in 2001 after his son Jarred's arm accidentally went through a wired glass panel at the gym of the University of Oregon in 2001. Jarred sustained permanent damage to his hand and upper arm in the incident. Abel also founded


According to the code, "The 2006 version of the International Building Code (IBC) no longer permits the use of traditional wire glass in areas that are subject to human impact in hazardous locations. Hazardous locations include, but are not limited to, doorlites, sidelites, windows in stairwells or near any walking surface.


"Therefore, any jurisdiction that adopts the IBC 2006 eliminates and prohibits the use of traditional wire glass in hazardous locations, in any type of facility. In hazardous locations that require a fire rating, a fire-rated and impact-rated product must be used.


"All glass, including fire-rated glass, used in hazardous areas must meet CPSC 16 CFR1201 Class 1 or Class II and/or ANSI Z97.1 Class A or Class B. The 2003 lAC applies to schools K-12, athletic facilities, daycare facilities, and hospitals. The IBC 2006 and subsequent versions apply to all buildings."


Many states have not yet adopted the code, and "you'll be surprised how many code officials and architects still don't know about the use of wired glass," Abel says. Just last December, a principal of an architectural firm wrote in the Colorado Real Estate Journal "wired glass can be used, even in new construction, but with significant limitations. It can be used in doors and sidelites if limited to 9 square feet, when rated up to 45 minutes. And it is still limited to 25 percent of total wall area primarily due to heat transfer considerations," Abel quotes.


"After all of the work that has been done and the countless victims of wired glass, it breaks my heart to see such misguided information still be published by individuals that should know better if only they truly cared to print accurate information," Abel says.


Conservatively, there were more than 2,500 wired glass injuries per year just in schools, according to a study that Dr. Philip L. Graitcer of Emory University did back in 2002-03, Abel says. "I don't think that number has gone down at all," he says. "There are still jurisdictions in the U.S. that are just now adopting the 2006 IBC. Unless they adopt, they're still using wired glass. The life expectancy of a commercial building is 50 years. So, if you were still installing wired glass 6 years ago [before IBC 2006 disallowed it], you still have 44 years with dangerous glass."


And that's why we still see so many injuries from wired glass, Abel says. Among the five cases that Abel's working on, two are in Canada and three in the U.S., he says. One Canadian case involves wired glass in a hotel, the other in a school. Of the three U.S. cases, two are in schools and one in a YMCA. "All cases involve permanent injuries," he says. "These are very unforgiving glazing injuries, very tragic."


Public awareness is the key to stop these accidents. "If people see that wired glass is truly dangerous, they will make the right decision," Abel says. "One of the cheapest ways would be to apply film. Or, if it's not a fire-rated assembly, best would be to replace with the appropriate glass, laminated or safety."


When the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls a crib for a certain reason, you cannot sell those anywhere, not even at garage sales, Abel says. "And here we know that we can't use wired glass, but we still have [it]. It's like telling the parents of those babies who owned recalled cribs that you can't buy those cribs anymore, but you can continue using the ones you have."


Source: http://www.usgnn.comAuthor: shangyi

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