The wire actually weakens the glass and increases the likelihood of breakage even under the relatively mild force exerted by an elementary school student. Even worse, a student’s hand or leg that passes through the easily broken wired glass panel can be snared by the wire making resulting injuries more severe.
Since 2003, the International Code Council’s model building codes have required that all glazing in potentially hazardous locations in new educational facilities must comply with Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) impact-safety standards. In 2004, traditional wired glass was banned in all building types.
Watch the CBS Evening News video clip below to learn more about the dangers posed by traditional wired glass.
Schools should replace unsafe wired glass to protect student safety
Experts estimate that there are at least 2,300 school injuries yearly from unsafe wired glass. Recently an Oregon jury found the Portland Public School district was negligent for not replacing a dangerous wired glass door panel. A 13-year-old student rushing to class attempted to open the door by kicking the metal crash bar. She slipped and her leg went easily through the lower wired glass pane severing two major nerves and 70% of her Achilles tendon. During the trial, it was revealed that the state superintendent had issued a 2003 memo alerting all superintendents of the dangers of wired glass, and that the Portland district had lobbied against a state bill that would have required school districts to replace all wired glass in hazardous locations. Read more…
The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) was created in 1997 by the U.S. Department of Education to provide information on planning, designing, funding, improving and maintaining safe, healthy, high-performance schools. NCEF’s Safe Schools web page asks: “Does tempered and wired glass meet the building code and Consumer Product Safety Commission’s requirements when used in doors, sidelights, locations near the floor, and other “hazardous” locations?”
Clear, Wire-Free Affordable Alternatives Now Available
There is a range of glazing products that can be used to replace or upgrade traditional wired glass in hazardous locations. Thanks to recent advances in glazing technology, many alternatives on the market meet both fire-rated standards and the CPSC impact safety requirements of 16 CFR 1201. You can replace the unsafe wired-glass installations with clear or safe wired glass alternatives. If you want to act now, but your budget is limited, there is also a certified field filming program which allows you to upgrade existing wired glass into a safety glass. To learn more about ways to replace or upgrade unsafe wired glass, click here.
Below is a gallery of clear, wire-free, affordable options for replacing unsafe wired glass in potentially hazardous locations on any school campus.