New CPSC Requirements for Safety Glazing
Fabricators are in Effect
New rules from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC) require that all safety glass fabricators include several new pieces
of information on their certifications of compliance with CPSC 16 CFR
1201—the federal safety standard for architectural glazing materials.
According to Kim Mann, the legal counsel for the Glass Association of
North America (GANA), this enlarged list of requirements can take the
form of an “electronic certificate” or even a hybrid form, whereby certain
information is available via a website (such as contact information, manufacturer’s
statement of compliance, etc.), while other required information is included
on the lite’s label or logo (such as date of manufacture, etc.). John
Kent, administrative manager of the Safety Glazing Certification Council
(SGCC), notes that testing agencies such as SGCC can provide about 90
percent of this information via its testing records, but the fabricator
would still be responsible for providing, for example, the date of manufacture
and a certification statement.
The certificate of compliance must now include:
• Manufacture’s name*, mailing address and telephone number;
• City and state where manufactured*;
• Month and year of manufacture;
• Applicable safety standards*;
• Certification of compliance*;
• Identification of the product by a “unique identifier;”
• Custodian of testing records’ name, e-mail address, mailing address
and telephone number;
• Date and place where the product was tested; and
• The third-party test laboratory’s name, mailing address and telephone
So what does all that mean?
Top 5 Questions About
One reason that industry professionals are concerned about the “general
lack of awareness” about the new rules is that the CPSC doesn’t address
many of the common questions that fabricators are asking.
As Kent points out, “The CPSC regulation is written but nobody really
knows how they’re going to implement it—or what some of those terms mean,”
he says. “What I advise people is that they have to make a due diligence
effort to interpret what they’re asking for and establish a justifiable
position as to how they feel they’re meeting the intent of the regulation.”
Among those questions are the following:
1. What’s a unique identifier? Far and away the number one question on
people’s minds has been what does the CPSC define as a “unique identifier?”
Kent offers two possible solutions. First, those companies that do certify
with an organization such as SGCC are covered as this voluntary program
assigns companies that certify a specific unique certification number,
“which is company, plant and product—generally thickness—specific.” That
existing number should fit the bill as a unique identifier.
But Kent suggests an alternative: “In the glass industry a unique identifier
is generally the type and thickness—tempered ¼-inch or laminated
¼-inch. I think that’s the equivalent of a model number in the
glass industry,” he says, “so I think that’s reasonable to say that my
model, my unique identifying model number is the thickness — ¼-inch
2.What exactly is a reasonable testing program? Is testing once a day
reasonable? Once a shift? How about once a year or once every ten years?
“There is no definition of that,” Kent says.
All he can advise is that “SGCC requires full laboratory testing once
every six months, and that’s been an established norm for 35-plus years
that SGCC has been around. So I think it’s justifiable [for us] to say
that we believe a reasonable testing program is independent testing once
every six months.”
For manufacturers that choose to self-certify, Kent says, “We believe
each manufacturer has to take a position of what they believe is reasonable
and defend what they feel is reasonable.”
3. Do I have to list the exact date of manufacture? “The date of manufacture
[requirement] gives people consternation as well,” Kent says. “CSPC does
say that the month and year must be listed relative to the date of manufacture.”
There was also some confusion as to how to handle product manufactured
prior to February 11 but not yet distributed as of that time. Kent comments
that the requirements could feasibly refer to products manufactured after
February 11, while Mann suggests that it would have to comply with any
products distributed after that date.
And speaking of dates, Kent points out that for companies posting any
of their information online, it has to be kept up-to-date and also archived.
“What if a crate of glass is made this week and it sits on a warehouse
shelf for a year and then it’s sold a year from now? There’s going to
have to be some way to create an archive of this test record,” Kent says.
“That customs officer is going to look and say wait a minute the date
of manufacture was February 2010, they can’t be looking at the test certificate
for February 2011.
4. What’s the obligation of companies that don’t actually make the safety
glazing but incorporate it into their products? “Let’s say a door manufacturer
buys a piece of safety glass and installs it in their door—what does that
door company need to do?” Kent asks by way of example. “This is another
gray area. In general, CPSC states that the manufacturer must forward
the certificate to the distributor or retailer. But what are the obligations
of that distributor or retailer? To our knowledge there is no obligation
of the distributor or retailer. It’s clearly if you make the product into
a safety glazing, you have to provide this certificate.
“But let’s say a door company then puts that glass into a door and then
ships it, what is the obligation of that door company? That’s a little
unclear. CPSC could interpret that the door company is an extension of
the manufacturer by virtue of using the safety glass, in which case the
most conservative approach would be for the door company to forward the
certificate or, as a minimum, maintain a file of those certificates.”
5. How do I fit all of that information on my existing labels? Kent says,
“CPSC seems to imply that they mandate certain information but that information
can appear in one of three places: 1) on a paper certificate, 2) on the
actual product or 3) on a website or by reference on a website—or a combination
of those three locations. If you are mixing and matching those three locations,
then there needs to be some common denominator.” In other words, “Whatever
you define as your unique identifier needs to be in all three of those
locations if, in fact, the CPSC information is being placed in all three
Some in the industry say these changes are not likely to have a huge impact
on the way glass fabricators have already been doing business.
“I believe most people will continue to label as they have in the past,”
Making Strides to Comply
Larger fabricators such as Vitro America have found the transition relatively
“It was a fairly simple transition because of the laser technology utilized
by our fabrication facilities to apply the product labels, and electronic
documentation available,” says Alice Dickerson, director of sales and
marketing of Vitro America. “This allowed us to easily incorporate the
date of manufacture, location and all other information required.”
Dickerson adds, “This change should not directly impact our customers;
however, Vitro America customers have been notified of the change, and
the fact that we are in compliance.
“I don’t see a big change for most of the fabricators; if they are currently
using a third-party certification organization such as SGCC I believe
they are already in fairly good shape,” says John Bush of John Bush Consulting
Inc. “However, those who choose to continue to self-certify have to seriously
ask themselves if they are doing this in a way where they can defend the
‘reasonable testing’ statement. There is too much required information
to put it all on the permanent logo on the glass and still have the glass
acceptable to owners and architects. Therefore, I see most manufacturers
using a hybrid approach with the information being distributed between
the permanent logo, the shipping documentation and the fabricators website.”
Bush adds, “As always is the case with new rules and regulations, we will
have to wait to see how some of this is interpreted.”
Cost of Non-Compliance
So what happens to fabricators that don’t update their labels ASAP? As
far as how the new requirements will be enforced, Kent tells USGlass that
the regulation references making the certificate available to the Federal
Trade Commission, customs authorities or to CPSC.
“I believe a review during a customs inspection is the most likely avenue
for enforcement, although CPSC could certainly police the process as well,”
Going forward, Mann explains, CPSC may be too busy with other things to
enforce these requirements. Congress has directed CPSC to create new testing
regulations for children’s products. Mann says that recent presentations
on the subject have led him to believe that CPSC likely “will issue very
broad generic protocol that will apply to all consumer products subject
to safety standard requirements.” However, GANA has submitted comments
to CPSC on this topic, urging the commission to confine any future regulations
on testing protocols to children’s products, or, at least, exclude architectural
glazing materials from its scope.
Because of the confusion, Mann reported that CPSC has made it clear “that
its first priority will not be policing certification and labeling requirements,”
but, rather, will try to ensure these consumer products meet the safety
requirements in these standards. However, Mann added, “Who knows when
CPSC is going to abandon this so-called leniency approach to certification?”
And when they do, he cautioned, manufacturers not complying with the new
requirements could be subject to an up to $100,000 penalty for each known
Still More Questions?
To view examples of how the Safety Glazing Certification Council
provides the required label information, visit
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