Safety Glass and Federal Law

The other day we were all working diligently at the office when all of a sudden we heard a BOOM. When we ran to check we found that a pane of safety glass in an interior window had shattered. Nothing unusual happened to cause the breakage, but thankfully the glass was what is called safety glass.

It made me recall the several cases we’ve handled over the years with injuries due to the absence of safety glass. In one case a young eight or nine-year-old girl was exiting an apartment building to go outdoors and play when she pushed on the exit door and her arm went right through the glass pane. The landlord had failed to replace a broken panel with safety glass. Instead he used ordinary glass which is not tempered or laminated like a safety glass pane is and sharp shards of glass did serious injury to the girl’s arm. Building codes required the use of safety glass at the apartment building, but it was more expensive so the landlord thought he could get away with ordinary glass.

Another case was at a school where one of the school children was running down the hallway and pushed on an exterior door and went right through the pane of glass, which again was not the required safety glass.

Federal law calls for safety glazing on glass panes in homes and buildings in defined hazardous locations such as doors, sidelites next to doors, and bath and shower enclosures. Many local building codes also mandate the use of tempered glass in many residential situations. Although buildings that were built decades ago may have ordinary glass panels indoors, most modern building codes require that if the glass breaks it must be replaced with safety glass.

If you were injured by glass or other dangers posed by building hazards, whether residential or commercial buildings, and you think that a code violation may have occurred or that some other careless and dangerous situation was allowed to persist, please call one of our attorneys.

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