Glass is a breakable material, which when broken into smaller sharp pieces often called shards can cause serious injury. Safety glazing material, usually tempered glass or laminated glass, reduces the risk of injury. In the case of tempered glass, this is accomplished by the characteristic break pattern (many small pieces), and in the case of laminated glass, the adhesion of the glass pieces to the inner plastic layer.
Security glazing products usually involve multiple layers of glass, and in some cases acrylics (usually laminated) in order to achieve maximum impact resistance from explosions, ballistic assaults and even simple forced entry. There is a wide range of such specialty glass products.
ANSI Z97.1 and CPSC 16CFR, Part 1201.
The Federal safety glazing law stipulates that safety glazing be used in architectural applications (homes and buildings) in defined hazardous locations. The hazardous locations generally include doors, immediately adjacent sidelites, bath and shower enclosures and glazing adjacent to passages where there are walking surfaces adjacent to the glass and the bottom edge of the glass is within 18” of the floor. In addition to the Federal law, various local code authorities have additional requirements.
Many local building codes mandate special considerations for overhead glazing. It is common to require and use tempered glass in residential overhead applications. Laminated, often heat-treated glass, is commonly required in commercial building applications. Typically when tempered glass is allowed in commercial building, some form of restraining screening is also required below the glass.
The Federal safety glazing law requires that all safety glazing products have a permanently identifiable marking on each piece. This marking cannot be removed without damaging or breaking the glass and is generally located in one of the corners of each piece.