H & S Guidance – Glass and Glazing

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Health and Safety Information System

(See also: Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare)


Hazards may arise from the storage, handling and processing of flat glass, from the disposal of discharge lamps and from inappropriate glazing used in the workplace.  These matters are covered below.


The use/handling of flat glass can involve the risk of serious personal injury.  Precautions include the following:


(i)The glass should not be in contact with any substance harder than itself.
(ii)The angle of inclination is critical and should be at least 3º from the vertical on static racks and 5º – 6º for transportable racks, pallets and stillages.
(iii)Glass stored on its edge should be supported as evenly as possible over its surface area.
(iv)Flooring should be of adequate strength.
(v)Glass should be stored in dry conditions.
(vi)Mesh fencing or other barriers should be provided at the sides of racks to contain any glass that may suddenly vent and fall out sideways during handling.


Depending on the size and substance of the glass to be carried there are single-, double-, and multi-handed techniques.  Equipment available for use might include straps or slings, suction pads (Josters), warehouse trucks and glass carriers.  Suitable protective clothing should always be worn.


In addition to the general cutting hazard associated with glass, particular hazards may be encountered in the cutting of laminated glass.  This may be difficult to cut because of the plastic interlayer(s).  The HSE has advised that the old-fashioned practice of pouring methylated spirits into the cut and igniting it is now unacceptable and constitutes a breach of the Highly Flammable Liquids and Liquefied Petroleum Gases Regulations 1972 (Reg.15(1)).  Acceptable alternatives include special purpose laminated cutting tables, vertically inclined saw frames or the use of a simple blow-lamp.


Tubular fluorescent lamps and other discharge lamps should normally be disposed of by fragmentation followed by dispersal of the released chemicals with water and discharge of the effluent and debris after any necessary treatment.  Hazards include flying glass, fire and combustive explosion hazards (sodium lamps only) and toxic or corrosive hazards (including lead and mercury).  However, all discharge lamps should be disposed of in a safe manner either using fragmentation facilities or in accordance with the requirements of the local waste authority.  (Sometimes unbroken lamps may be disposed of at a landfill site).  Equally, unbroken lamps might be returnable to the supplier or manufacturer.


Regulation 14 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 requires that every window or other transparent or translucent surface in a wall, partition, door or gate should, where necessary for reasons of health and safety, be of a safety material or be protected against breakage, and be appropriately marked or incorporate features to make it apparent.

Assessing the risk will involve considering several factors such as the location of the glazing, the activities taking place nearby, the volume of traffic and pedestrians and any previous experience of incidents.  Subsequent action may include reorganising traffic routes, the erection of suitable barriers or screens, modifying the glazing (e.g. use of a safety film), limiting the area of glazing or replacement with a safety material.


1.Do you handle, store or process glass in your premises?

If so,

have you carried out a risk assessment?YESNO
is your racking method safe?YESNO
do you employ safe methods to handle glass?YESNO
are your methods of processing glass safe?YESNO
2.Do you provide sufficient information, instruction and training on glass-related safety for your employees?YESNO
3.Do you ensure that fluorescent tubes or discharge lamps are disposed of safely or returned to the supplier/manufacturer?YESNO
4.Have you assessed any risks from glazing in your premises?YESNO
5.Have you taken any remedial action identified in the risk assessment of glazing?YESNO


*1.Booklet: Glass handling, storage and transport – Code of Practice (Issued by the Glass and Glazing Federation)
*2.HELA Circular LAC 34/1 – Cutting of laminated glass.
*3.HELA Circular LAC 34/3 – Safety at automatic glass cutting machines.
*5.HELA Circular LAC 34/4 -Glass handling, storage and transport.
**6.Leaflet IND(G) 212 L – Workplace health and safety glazing (HSE)