Injury By Glass and Building Codes Yesterday and Today

December 8, 2018 in Falls, Glass and Gazing, Injury, OSHA

            From time to time we have been called upon to investigate personal injuries due to glass breakage.  These types of accidents can vary from minor to major injuries including fatalities.

            There are various causes for such incidents including people walking into and through glass walls and doors, shattering of glass due to direct strikes by blunt objects, defective glass, failure of glass systems such as shower doors falling off their tracks, and sometimes plain old bad luck.

            Regardless of the cause there are two distinct differences between the incidents, those that involve untempered glass and those that involve tempered glass.

            Without going too deeply into the technical aspects of glass manufacturing the differences between tempered and untempered glass are stark and significant.

            When untempered glass breaks it does so in chunks typically referred to as shards.  Often the shards are broken into triangle shapes resembling knifes. Depending on the cause of the glass breakage the shards can impel, cut, or both any part of a soft tissue, human or animal.

            Tempered glass when broken is designed to shatter into very small pieces of glass. They too can cause injury but are less likely to become life threatening.

            There are circumstances when even tempered glass becomes dangerous.  One such occasion is when glass panes become dislodged from their frames in low and high rise buildings. The glass becomes airborne and transforms into a flying missile. Obviously in such a case it makes no difference whether the glass is tempered or not.

           As of the 1961 Uniform Building Code untempered glass was in wide and legal use. Starting with the 1964 Uniform Building Code we see where mandatory use of tempted glass [and other safety glazing] first becomes law under Section 5406 as follows:

 Glass lights subject to impact hazards and in the following locations shall  comply with Table No. 54-D:

 1. Glass doors and wall panels of bathtub and shower enclosures. For Plastics, see Section 1711 (e).

2. Where bottom of glass light is within eighteen inches (18”) of floor or walking surface.

3. Glass lights of glass panel doors.

            By the time this article was written in December of 2018, the codes and regulations governing the installation of glass become more strict. Under the 2015 International Building Code, which is the cornerstone of most building codes in the United States, Sections 2406.4, 2407, 2408, and 2409 require safety glazing, with minimal exceptions, in all hazardous locations including doors, windows, glass guard railings, wet surfaces, areas adjacent to stairways and ramps, fire department access panels, glazing in athletic facilities, and glazing in walkways, elevator hoist ways, and elevator cars.

            We do not anticipate any reductions in the current building codes and may see even more stringent requirements if future environmental and safety concerns dictate the need to provide even more protection.

            The author has investigated scores of incidents relating to glazing injuries and has qualified in court to testify as an expert in this field.

Consulting is a Team Effort

August 6, 2017 in OSHA

Consulting is a Team Effort

By: Gidon R. Vardi, Ph.D

In the world of consulting we often refer to others for help and advice. For that reason, it is our opinion that knowing where to turn for assistance is as important as any other aspect of topic research.

Within the world of job site safety, it is our responsibility to properly investigate and report our findings. The investigation may include accident reconstruction, safety code research, and court testimony.

But there are two specific aspects of OSHA that we are not involved in and therefore turn to others for assistance.

First, IIPP (injury and illness prevention program) as required by OSHA. The preparation of these manuals is best done by professionals who customize the programs to the individual company needs.

Second, in the aftermath of an OSHA citation, every defendant is allowed to appeal those citations. Whereas we will investigate the OSHA allegations the actual appeal process we refer our clients to the professionals.

Below are helpful links for assistance in obtaining an OSHA IIPP and information regarding OSHA appeals. For injury and safety investigations we are here to assist.

www.oshacitationappeals.com

www.oshaiipp.com