Last November, the Canadian General Standards Board’s (CGSB) had announced it was working on a new edition of the national standard for wired safety glass. In a news report posted this past May, the CGSB told USGNN.com™ it established a committee made up of industry members, users and regulators to update the standard on wired glass and would hold its first meeting May 21. The committee is focusing on discussion on CAN/CGSB 12.1 Tempered or Laminated Safety Glass and CAN/CGSB 12.11 Wired Safety Glass, the latter of which hasn’t been updated since 1990. Greg Abel with Safe Glass Consulting, however, has raised concerns over the “transparency” and “unbiased balance” of the committee’s make-up.

Abel told USGNN.com that several months ago he was contacted by Canadian code officials asking if he could provide information on wired glass hazards, which he says he did.

“And they have taken the position that wired glass is not safe and they wanted to do what they could to bring about change in Canada,” says Abel, adding he was also asked if we would provide information to the committee [working on the standard].

Abel says that shortly after the June 9 USGNN.com news story posted, he received an email from Jennifer Jimenez, chair of the committee, saying that while his knowledge was appreciated … she had not personally asked him to participate in the committee and he should refrain from making further statements.

Abel told USGNN, “We went back and forth and I questioned the balance of the committee and she assured me it was balanced according to Canadian law. She would never say anything to me about the committee other than I was welcome, when it came out for public review, to make comments then …”

Abel has also expressed concerns over the make-up of the committee. He alleges some of the committee members are biased, and have interests other than the development of a safety standard. Having expressed this concern to the committee chair, he received an email from Jimenez, explaining that the “CGSB makes every effort to ensure a balance of committee interests, and also ensures that no one interest can dominate the standards development process.” The email explained that the CGSB Committee on Glass is made up of four interest categories: producers, users, regulators and general interest (those who reflect the Canadian Public Interest) and these provide a national perspective. The committee has: two regulators, including a Canadian code representative, four general interest, eight producers and six users. He was told that due to Canadian privacy legislation the names of the members of the committee are not released.

Her email stated, “Members of the public who wish to participate in the development of the standard are encouraged to review the standard and provide comments during the mandatory 60 day period of public review which occurs prior to committee approval.”

Abel says, “I feel this will probably be very embarrassing that we do not have a transparent committee and [it’s] far from balanced and [they’re] proposing a standard that has an interest other than public safety at heart.”

He adds, “… I have lived this and continue to get calls seeking information and here we have the opportunity to do the right thing. [Look at] why the committee was created—because [Canada] has not had such code change since 1990 and Canada was one of the biggest wired glass users in North America. More than 10 years ago we were finally able to convince enough people [in the U.S.] that this is not a joke. I would like to see this committee do the right thing.”

At press time, representatives from CGSB had not responded to USGNN.com™’s request for comment.

USGlass

4 Comments

  1. As a Canadian who has been in the glass industry for over 20 years from the supply end I can guarantee that suppliers are cognizant of the issues of wired glass. I have zero affiliation with the CGSB but I cannot imagine that they would in any way try to protect or lobby for wired glass unless its use was where it would not be a safety concern. For almost a decade many firms within Canada have adhered to the IBC recommendation that wired glass not be used in places where impact or safety glass is required. It is in my opinion that we will see wired glass permitted less and less. In my own experience I have seen the sales of wired glass decline significantly over the years and think that safety concern is one of the major reasons.

    1. People who speak in favour of a grass-roots movement away from wired glass, rather than advocating for real change at the Code level, should check their priorities. Wired glass (without safety-film) remains extremely popular in Canada; specified daily still for schools, etc. The almighty dollar, saving that last buck, trumps safety every day. Only by changing Code will the message that wired glass is dangerous get through.

  2. Thank you Mr Able for your continued work in bringing an understanding of the wire glass and its lack of performance as a safety glazing material. Having been involved in the glass industry for over 40 years and involved with testing of product it would seem obvious that if a product can not meet the test standard for safety glazing material it should not be considered for use in applications that would subject it to possible human impact. Not that hard to figure out!
    I hope the CGSB will consider the various reasons why the U.S. made the change in their Uniform Building Code not to allow the use of wire glass in safety glazing locations when making their decision.
    Thanks again to Mr. Able for his continued hard work regarding this issue.

  3. I have been following the issue of safety glazing for a few years and have written several articles on the topic. I know Mr. Abel was very involved in the code changes here in the U.S. and continues to advocate for awareness of the dangers of traditional wired glass. The fact that he is questioning the interests of some of the committee members makes me wonder what his concerns are based on and why the identities of the committee members can not be disclosed. It would not be unprecedented to have someone representing other interests wind up on a committee like this, and if an expert like Mr. Abel has questions, I’d like to know the answers.

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