Volume 34, Number 2, February 1999

 

ISSUE AT HAND

by Deb Levy

In the interest of fair disclosure, you should know that I sit on two ANSI committees, one concerning auto glass safety standards (AGRSS—see USGlass, Nov-ember 1998, page 99) and the other being the now infamous Z97.1 Safety Glazing Standard Committee. I serve on these committees because they are important to our industry and because I believe we have an obligation to serve the industry in which we work. As you will read on page 16, the future of ANSI Z97.1 is in jeopardy.

Why should this matter? Many people, at one time or another, have wished the Z97.1 standard would just go away. If this standard is allowed to die, it will be withdrawn and no longer referenced as such. But, as Kim Mann, general counsel for the Glass Association of North America (GANA), explained during Glass Week ’99 in Palm Springs, CA, earlier this month: "Z97.1 is the only safety glazing standard into which the glass industry has input. The only other such standard usually referenced is 16CFR 1201, the federal safety glazing standard, and nobody really has a voice in that. If we don’t do something, ANSI Z97.1 will pass into the sea and we will have lost our chance for input."

The Z97.1 committee has been laboring for four years, amid a wide variety of interests to update and develop a solid safety glazing standard for the future. Of particular merit was the committee’s attempt to take the many technological changes that have occurred in the industry into account in the new standard, specifically the use of plastics, curved and bent glass and much more. Gaining consensus on such issues is arduous, sometimes painful, but worthwhile.

There have been a number of theories about why the current committee structure fell apart. Some committee members in the glass industry have said they lost confidence in the current leadership when a challenge was launched against providing membership (and a vote) to each of GANA’s divisions. "It was ridiculous," said one committee member who wished to remain anonymous, "companies such as Monsanto and Dupont each have a vote on the committee, yet the leadership felt that there was ‘double-counting’ going on because both the temperers and laminators wanted their own vote."

Others point to a lack of confidence in leadership. "Some of us felt that the then-current leadership was not providing the needed leadership," said Mann. "A motion was made to hold a new election for chairman. The chairman at the time immediately took offense. When the motion passed, the chairman quit. It was not a nice meeting. The SGCC voted to resign as secretariat a short time later."

The Glazing Industry Codes Committee (GICC) has stepped forward and indicated a willingness to serve as secretariat and perform the administrative functions for the committee. Assuming it can work out some legal liability and financial issues, GICC was scheduled to vote on this matter February 16.

Quite a bit of thought, effort and time has gone into the committee’s work. It would be a shame if these efforts were for naught. It would be a bigger travesty if our industry-wide voice in the process was lost for good.


USG

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