Industry, Consumers Respond to New Standard for Glass Furniture

Industry representatives and consumers impacted by the glass furniture issue have responded favorably to the recent publication of a standard for glass furniture.

Henry Chamberlain of Allied Glass Experts in Kansas City, Kan., who served as the technical contact on the standard, ASTM F2813-12, says he expects it to “significantly enhance consumer safety.”

In addition, minimal burden will be placed on the industry as they respond to the standard, he says.

“The economic costs are not onerous, design freedom is not impaired [and] it does not establish any new test protocols or product categories,” says Chamberlain. “The specified glass products are immediately and abundantly available, so implementation can be completed in one inventory turn cycle.”

Chamberlain also points out that the standard itself is “simple, concise and clear.” “How many other 1.5-page standards have you encountered?” he asks.

Julia Schimmelpenningh, global architectural applications manager for Eastman Chemical Co., commended the work of furniture manufacturers for their involvement in the development of the standard.

“Ultimately the hard work that the furniture manufacturers did on this standard after the injury data was presented to them is very commendable and should lead to a reduction of cutting and piercing injuries sustained from the breaking of the furniture glazing defined in the scope of this standard,” she says. “The main hurdle for the standard at this point since it is voluntary, is the adoption of the standard as corporate philosophy by the manufacturers and the education of consumers of the standard’s availability and benefit to their safety.”

Urmilla Sowell, technical director for the Glass Association of North America, also weighed in.

“The adoption of ASTM F2813 will lessen the likelihood of piercing injuries caused by broken glass and will further incorporate safety awareness in furniture applications,” she says.

In addition to industry response, consumers have also spoken out in support of the standard. Kathy Bongiorno of Hazel Park, Mich., is particularly close to the issue, as her husband was injured just a year ago when he cut himself on a glass coffee table.

“The glass was ½ inch thick,” she recalls. “My husband was on the floor and used the table to help himself get up. A small piece of the glass snapped, cutting his wrist. He cut through tendons, arteries and nerves. After a year of physical therapy, he has regained about 75 percent use of his hand. The glass severed his median nerve and he will never regain feeling in his fingers. The nerve was reattached, but he only regained feeling in the palm of his hand.”

Bongiorno heard about the publication of the standard earlier this week, when a family friend who works in the glass industry read about the standard’s publication on www.usglassmag.com and forwarded the link to her.

“I am delighted that there is now a standard for glass furniture,” she says. “I am absolutely sure that this standard will positively impact consumer safety.”

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