The most recent standard from ASTM International regards the use of glass in furniture, stressing that the use of safety glass can minimize serious furniture-related injuries. According to ASTM, furniture manufacturers will benefit from lower claims costs, less breakage in shipping and handling, and a safer harbour from liability risks.
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 that includes glass.
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.
According to Henry Chamberlain, F15.42 member and chairman, Allied Glass Experts, 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 harbour from liability risks, and the ability to invest in producing safer products without having to compete with firms that do not.
ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development and delivery systems in the world. ASTM International meets the World Trade Organization (WTO) principles for the development of international standards: coherence, consensus, development dimension, effectiveness, impartiality, openness, relevance and transparency. ASTM standards are accepted and used in research and development, product testing, quality systems and commercial transactions.