by Bob Beranek
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There always seems to be some confusion about the AGRSS™ Standard regarding the use of salvaged glass, even though the Auto Glass Safety Council has issued an interpretation concerning that issue. So, I thought I would give you my interpretation of the interpretation.

There is a need to use salvaged glass in some instances. For example when doing removal and re-installation (R&R) of glass parts and when the glass part is not manufactured anymore, “salvaged” glass may be your only option.  These parts must be used and installed in a safe manner, however, or we are putting our customers in a dangerous situation.

The Auto Glass Safety Council website states, “The “ANSI/AGRSS Standard 002-2002 does not prohibit the installation of ‘recycled’ or ‘used’ stationary automotive glass in motor vehicles provided the following three conditions are met:”

The three conditions are:

1. The glass is in a condition that will permit a safe installation and must be free of obvious structural or objectionable flaws.

This is very clear. The glass once removed from the original vehicle must be free of flaws that would hinder its safety role. It cannot be:

—Sandblasted so visibility is hampered;

—Have distortion in the “acute” vision area;

— Be chipped, which would weaken the glass structurally;

—Scratched, which would also weaken the glass; and

—So damaged that the customer will not accept it.

If the part is encapsulated and the encapsulation is bonded to the vehicle, the encapsulation material must be solidly intact and not seriously deformed which would cause improper bonding.

2. The glass is installed with the retention system compatible with the OEM design

Here is where my interpretation might differ from others. As a business owner and one who pays a liability insurance premium every month, I interpret this to mean that the glass is installed with the OE adhesive. I cannot be sure what material was previously used nor can I know if the previous installation was completed properly. I do know that the original vehicle manufacturer did have to use materials and install the glass part to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Therefore, my policy for salvaged parts is to use only OE glass from an OE installed vehicle. Any aftermarket installed parts are not used unless I know I did the prior installation.

3. For adhesive-bonded glass, the adhesive manufacturer’s application instructions must permit its use in connection with the installation of recycled or used adhesive-bonded, stationary automotive glass.

Simply put, the adhesive you use must allow and give instructions for how to bond to salvaged glass parts bonded to the vehicle frame. If your adhesive company does not recommend the use of salvaged parts or they do not give you written instructions on how to bond to salvaged parts, then you cannot use salvaged parts with that adhesive product.

Now, here is the kicker. You must be able to answer “yes” to all three points before you can safely install the salvaged parts. If you can’t, then all the liability is borne by you and your company and any injuries caused by improper installation is on your shoulders. If someone urges you to install a salvaged part incorrectly, no disclaimer, clause or sign-off will protect you.

This year marks my 35th year in the glass industry and I must say that I feel pretty good for an old man. My back isn’t sore, my hands still work and I can still pull a cold knife. Many of my peers, unfortunately, can’t say the same. To what do I credit my relatively healthy career? Good luck to be sure, but safety precautions and technology play a bigger role.

This week’s post is about safety and self protection. When I started training I believed that I had to practice what I preached or I would be deemed a hypocrite. Sure, I have been busy enough that I forgot to put on my safety gloves and kept my “seeing” glasses on when I should have put on my safety glasses. I remembered more often than I forgot, however, and that has gone a long way in helping keep me fit to continue my career.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is for your protection not mine. I can remind you to wear it, but I can’t force you to. If you do not wear your equipment, I do not get hurt, you do. I am not the one getting stitches in my hand or a glass sliver out of my eyeball, you are. I’m not enduring the pain involved with straining my back or pulling a muscle, you are. The PPE for our industry is not a long list nor is it expensive or hard to get. It just needs to be obtained and most importantly worn.

The equipment most technicians need include:

Safety gloves:

—Gloves should be constructed of heavy leather or cut resistant fabric. The best I have found are the tight fitting mechanics’ gloves. They give you manual dexterity and protection. Add anti-vibration padding and you have the perfect gloves for an automotive glass technician.

Safety glasses:

—Lenses need to be impact resistant. They should have side shields. Glasses are to be worn at all times during the installation. They must meet ANSI 87.1 for safety glasses. 

Nitrile gloves:

—Nitrile gloves are recommended to resist the solvents and adhesives used in the glass industry. Latex gloves will keep your hands clean but do nothing to protect your hands from solvents and chemicals.

Safety shoes:

—Safety shoes or steel-toed shoes are recommended for use when handling or installing glass. This is one of the recommended safety items that seem to go by the wayside. Technicians would rather have good comfortable, good traction shoes rather than toe protection but I urge you to reconsider that line of thinking. It is not pleasant to drop a windshield on your toe.

Wrist & Forearm protectors:

—Wrist and forearm gauntlets are used when handling glass and when sharp tools are used. I highly recommend these for door glass installation. I have had dozens of minor cuts and abrasions throughout my career but only two that required stitches. One of the cuts that required stitches was not caused by glass but by the metal of an access hole in a door frame. Wrist and forearm gauntlets would have protected me from that injury.

Now, what about ergonomics when it comes to precautionary protection? Do you still use your head to push up the windshield to cut the bottom bead? Do you use a manual caulk gun versus a power gun? Do you set the glass by yourself? Do you wedge yourself between the “A” pillar and the door frame to reach the pinchweld? How low tech can you get? You may think that you cannot afford the high dollar tools that would free you from these actions, but how long can you go before your body determines that you’re done installing glass?

Using your head to push up on the windshield means that you’re pinching the disks in your vertebrae, thus causing lower back pain and a shorter career. Use a helper, leverage tools or different power tools to lessen the need for tensioning the windshield for cutting out.

A manual caulk gun does the job, but the constant use of your wrist and forearm muscles will cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and require painful surgery and a long recovery time. Obtain a power caulk gun to reduce repetitive motion that a manual gun will cause.

Setting the glass by yourself and wedging your body in unnatural positions contorts the body and puts excessive pressure on your back and shoulders. This gives you muscle aches and pains that can hinder a good night’s sleep and could require pain killers to make it tolerable. There are a number of setting tools with different price points that could help you in setting the glass comfortably and accurately. Also, use a solidly based platform to stand on instead of wedging yourself between the body and the door.

Use the tools and equipment that are available to you. Make a wish list of the items you need and prioritize it. Then when the good months happen or when you can convince the boss that these are good for his business, you can obtain these important safety items and begin to work more ergonomically and safely.

The protection step has two sub-steps, vehicle protection and self-protection. This week we will discuss the vehicle protection and then next week we will address the self-protection.

Once the pre-existing damage is noted, the next step is to protect the vehicle from damage that the technician may cause. Good habits to develop are:

—Drop cloths for interior protection. Cover the seats, floor and dashboard with protective coverings. Many uniform companies will supply and clean interior drop cloths for your use or it may be a good idea to use a shower curtain as a drop cloth. It will not allow a liquid to penetrate the vinyl and it can be easily cleaned off for reuse.

—Fender covers for exterior painted surfaces. Professional covers can be purchased or just use an old bath towel. Any covering will help. Do not place tool boxes or awkward looking items on the vehicle. Big items like windshield wipers, cowl panels, or moldings can appear to be large and heavy. The customer does not realize the weight and makeup of the item and can be afraid of damage to their vehicle. Only small individual hand tools can be placed on the fender covers.

—Use protective tape on susceptible painted areas. These can include the fenders, top corners and along the hood. Any adhesive tape can be used for this purpose, including masking tape, molding tape and vinyl tape, but the best protective tape to use is a heavy fabric tape, such as duct tape. However, this type of tape can be detrimental to compromised surfaces so caution must be exercised. If a thinner type of tape is used, a double coating of tape may be called for. It is unnecessary to flatten any tape to the surface to be protected. Stick the tape to your shirt to remove some of the stickiness and then just drape it over the area to be protected. The air space created actually acts as additional protection. Then remove it as soon as the cutting or scraping tools are finished being used.

—Tape up the defroster vents. The defroster vents are open to any debris that may fall from the pinchweld or the broken glass. If not covered or cleaned out, the customer could be injured from flying glass or dirt when the defroster is used.

—Pay attention to what you are wearing. What the technician wears is many times the cause of vehicle damage. Items like belt buckles, jewelry, shirt or pants buttons, or even items in your pockets can cause scratches or dents to the vehicles surface. Wear belts without buckles, aprons and polo shirts to protect the surfaces. Remove rings, watches and necklaces to prevent scratches. Remove bulky items from your pockets like keys, change and tools. The front of your body should be free from any hard or harsh items that can cause damage.

—If you are just entering our industry or have been in our industry for years there is one constant that cannot be disputed, you will or you have damaged a vehicle. It is one of those things that will happen no matter how careful you are—tools break and mistakes happen. However, it is always better to admit damage to the customer if it occurs rather than trying to hide it. Trying to hide damage you caused will only upset the customer more than admitting your mistake.

In summary, protect the vehicle you’re working on as if it were your own vehicle because if you damage it, you will have to pay for it. Just take the precautions to minimize the damage and reduce your costs.