Aesthetic appeal and durability have contributed to an ongoing use of glass in furniture. However, the use of annealed glass tops in tables and desks has led to an increase in serious and sometimes fatal injuries sustained from falls onto furniture pieces that include glass. A new ASTM International standard stresses the use of safety glass as a means of minimizing serious furniture-related injuries.
ASTM F2813, Specification for Glass Used as a Horizontal Surface in Desks and Tables, has been developed by Subcommittee F15.42 on Furniture Safety, part of ASTM International Committee F15 on Consumer Products. The new standard covers performance requirements and test methods to ensure the relative safety of glass used in furniture as a primary or secondary surface on tables, including coffee tables and end tables.
Henry Chamberlain, F15.42 member and chairman, Allied Glass Experts, says that most serious injuries involving glass in furniture occur when juveniles or elderly adults fall into glass-topped coffee tables. Children tend to climb onto the tables, while adults often back into a table and then fall through the top.
“ASTM F2813 will provide assurance to consumers that glass tops of tables and desks will be made of a safety glass product,” says Chamberlain. “The public should understand that any glass table top can be broken, but people are unlikely to sustain serious injury from broken safety glass.”
While less injury risk for consumers is a clear benefit of ASTM F2813, the standard also provides glass manufacturers the opportunity to add value to their sales volume.
In addition, Chamberlain notes, furniture manufacturers will benefit from lower claims costs, less breakage in shipping and handling, a safer harbor from liability risks, and the ability to invest in producing safer products without having to compete with firms that do not.
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