23rd March 2021
Safety Glass - why it's important
Safety glass - what is it and why does it matter? Glass is an amazing material but it can also be dangerous if not cut, supplied and installed to suit the application and building standards.
Australian Standards AS/NZ1288 regulate and advise the industry on how to install glass safely depending on the type of building, where it's being installed, how high it is being installed and what kind of exposure the glass has to the elements.
The term ‘Safety Glass' or 'Grade A Safety Glass' is applied to glazing which must be used to reduce the risk of injury from accidental impact and glass breakage.
Glass isn't automatically safety glass when it comes off the float manufacturing line, it needs to have other processes applied to it which makes it a safety glass. This is where Viridian Glass comes in to make sure the glass has the correct safety processes applied.
There are three main ways we make glass a safety product, and requirements vary depending on the application and thermal risk. These are:
Toughening: the glass is heated up to high temperatures after being cut to size, and then rapidly cooled down. This process increases its strength making it up to five times stronger than annealed glass
Laminating: the glass is laminated using a very thin PVB interlayer between two pieces of glass. When broken the fragments adhere to the interlayer.
Toughened or Heat Strengthened Lamination: this is where a combination of both the lamination and toughening processes are applied to the glass for extra strength and safety.
You can read more about the heat treatment and custom lamination processes here.
At Viridian Glass we have four main types of safety glass products to support varying risk levels and applications. These are:
VLam™ (Grade A safety glass): Laminated glass helps to protect from injury caused by sharp splinters of broken glass. If broken, laminated glass sticks to the interlayer and generally stays in the window frame to provide added safety.
VTough™ (Grade A safety glass): Toughened glass is up to five times stronger than annealed glass. On impact, it breaks into small blunt-edged pieces, reducing the risk of injury.
VLam™ Toughened (Grade A safety glass): the optimum in safety glass. Each piece of glass is toughened to provide superior structural strength when compared to annealed glass and then these pieces are bonded together using a PVB interlayer to ensure if the glass breaks the pieces are held together by the interlayer.
DecorMirror™ Safe SB (safety mirror): is a high specification mirror with a special safety backing film to retain broken pieces of mirror if broken from impact.
There are also special processes required for products like glass flooring or overhead glazing which go above the regular safety standards due to their high risk and weight load requirements. We have engineering experts here at Viridian Glass to support installers and builders with specifying glass for these applications.
Speak to your installer or window team to ensure your glass is being provided to the relevant safety standards.