Volume 41, Issue 8 - August 2006


What’s the Difference?
GANA Publishes GIB on Safety Glazing Standards
by Ashley M. Charest

The Glass Association of North America (GANA) received numerous questions and requests as to the differences between CPSC 16 CFR Part 1201 and ANSI Z97.1. The association in turn has created a new Glass Informational Bulletin (GIB) titled Differences Between Safety Glazing Standards. Below is an excerpt from that bulletin.

“In 1977, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) adopted as a mandatory federal safety regulation Safety Standard for Architectural Glazing Materials, codified at 16 CFR Part 1201. The CPSC amended its Safety Standard for Architectural Glazing Materials on several occasions subsequent to its initial adoption, the last time on June 28, 1982. 

In 1966, an Accredited Standards Committee comprised of industry and public sector members first developed the American National Standard for Safety Glazing Materials Used in Buildings—Safety Performance Specifications and Methods of Test, under the auspices and protocol of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This ANSI standard has been reviewed and either renewed or revised periodically ever since, the last time in 2004. Its current version is ANSI Z97.1-2004.

Set forth below are the more significant differences between these two standards, both standards applicable to safety glazing materials used in architectural applications. This bulletin makes no attempt to summarize all pertinent provisions of the two standards, only their significant differences.


The principal differences between the CPSC’s 16 CFR 1201 standard and the ANSI Z97.1-2004 standard relate to their scope and function. The CPSC standard is not only a test method and a procedure for determining the safety performance of architectural glazing, but also a federal standard that mandates where and when safety glazing materials must be used in architectural applications and preempts any non-identical state or local standard. In contrast, ANSI Z97.1 is only a voluntary safety performance specification and test method. It does not attempt to declare when and where safety glazing materials must be used, leaving those determinations up to the building codes and to glass and fenestration specifiers.

Non-Architectural Applications

Neither the CPSC nor the ANSI standard claims to require or address the use of tested safety glazing materials in non-architectural applications, not even in consumer products incorporating glass, such as fireplace screens, table tops or similar furniture, subject to human impact. No state or local laws or ordinances are known to mandate safety glazing in these non-architectural applications either.

Notwithstanding the absence of a law or regulation requiring safety glazing materials, a potential personal-injury lawsuit asserting product liability could call into question the reasonableness of the actions of the product manufacturer, specifier, fabricator or distributor who is responsible for installing non-safety glass in a product subject to human impact. The recognized industry standard of care to which the court holds the “defendant” accountable may dictate the use of safety glazing materials in that particular application.”

Topics of Interest

Throughout the bulletin, the focus is on the differences in methodology between the two safety glazing standards. Below is a list of specific topics that the bulletin addresses based upon these differences:

• Application;
• Test specimens;
• Types of glass;
• Asymmetrical glazing material;
• Impact categories or levels;
• Pass-fail impact criteria;
• Labeling;
• Certification;
• Impact testing apparatus;
• Weathering tests;
• Modulus and hardness tests; and
• Indoor aging tests.

The newest GIB is the tenth in a growing library of GANA educational documents created for the glass and glazing industry. This new bulletin, as well as any of the others, may be downloaded from the GANA website at www.glasswebsite.com. There is no charge for these documents.

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