GANA Reminds Fabricators New CPSC Requirements Take Effect February 11
January 28, 2010

On February 9, 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) postponed the date for compliance with a new set of certification rules, applicable to architectural glazing materials installed in hazardous locations, until February 11, 2010 (CLICK HERE for related story). With that date drawing close, the Glass Association of North America (GANA) organized a webinar this afternoon explaining to temperers and laminators how they will be affected.

Simply put, the new rules require manufacturer certifications of compliance with CPSC 16 CFR 1201—the federal safety standard for architectural glazing materials—to include several new pieces of information.

Currently, a certificate of compliance requires:

  • Manufacturer’s name;
  • Date of manufacture;
  • Place of manufacture;
  • Safety standard; and
  • Certification of compliance.

As of February 11, the certificate must include:

  • Manufacture’s name, mailing address and telephone number;
  • Month and year of manufacture;
  • City and state where manufactured;
  • Safety standard;
  • 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 number.

According to Kim Mann, legal counsel for GANA, who led today’s webinar, 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) and another speaker on today’s call, noted that the testing agencies such as SGCC can provide about 90-percent of this information via its testing records, but the manufacturer would still be responsible for providing, for example, the date of manufacture and a certification statement.

One listener on today’s webinar questioned whether fabricators would be required to provide the required materials to customers not defined as a distributor or retailer. The answers indicated just some of the unknowns coming with these new requirements. Mann suggested that the CPSC could interpret those words to include any customer, including glazing contractors, to whom the product is directly sold.

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 comment that the requirements could feasibly refer to products manufactured after February 11, while Mann suggested that it would have to comply with any products distributed after that date.

The confusion exists because, Mann said, CPSC has, to date, offered little or no guidance as to how these rules are to be interpreted or how they’re to be applied, resulting in number of grey areas for temperers and laminators.

Another “grey area” is the term “unique identifier.” Kent points out this could be something as simple as a model number or complex as a serial number; SGCC is interpreting this as the former, since the council includes a unique ID for each thickness of glass tested.

The bigger question refers to the “reasonable testing” the requirement says a product must undergo. For manufacturers that choose to self-certify, Kent said, “We believe each manufacturer has to take a position of what they believe is reasonable and defend what they feel is reasonable” because CPSC offers no guidance on proper testing—yet.

Going forward, Mann explained that Congress has directed CPSC to create new testing regulations for children’s products. Mann said that recent presentations on the subject have led him to believe that new protocols on testing regulations 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 council 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 violation.

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