03 May 05/03/2021
The use of glass dates back to Eastern Mesopotamia and Egypt, around 3,500 BC. However, it was not until 100 AD that the Romans began installing glass windows into buildings. Today, we refer to those who install windows as glaziers.
What is a glazier? The word glazier is used interchangeably with "glazing contractor" and "glass contractor." They perform one of the most critical roles across construction. This is because their work allows light to naturally enter buildings, while also keeping the elements at bay. When you think about it, virtually every building has windows, making window installation an activity that touches every industry. These installers also come to the rescue to repair or replace damaged windows.
Wearing the correct safety gear is important for everyone working in construction, especially glass contractors.
Glass contractors install windows across all parts of the economy – commercial, residential, industrial, healthcare, and schools. Unfortunately, those who find a career in this field experience the third-highest percentage of recordable on-the-job injuries in construction, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For every 100 employees installing glass in construction, 3.9 will experience an injury. Only framing and roofing contractors experience a higher percentage of job-related injuries.
This article will cover what role glass contractors perform, the safety measures workers must take, and the PPE they require.
Before windows are installed, they must first be manufactured. Some of the largest window manufacturers include Corning International, Guardian International, and PPG industries. The manufacturing side of glass, known as flat glass manufacturing, falls under NAICS code 327211, with the sector employing over 10,000 workers in 2019.
Then, some companies are engaged in manufacturing windows with door units and door frames. Some of these include Anderson Windows, Jeld-Wen, Masonite, and Pella, which fall under NAICS code 321911. Part of their operation involves precutting glass and encasing it into frames. Overall, the industry employed a little over 50,000 workers in 2019.
Companies like Pella have manufacturing locations, all over the United States. Once an end-user has selected the glass they prefer for installation in their home or business, a contractor must install it.
After the glass is manufactured, it is sent to construction sites where workers install it. NAICS code 238150 represents all companies operating in the construction sector. The glasswork performed under this code includes new work, additions, alterations, maintenance, and repairs.
The construction industry is home to most glazing contractors.
Window installation is a $5 billion industry with more than 40,000 workers finding employment in the field. According to IBIS World, companies in this industry are responsible for installing the following:
Some of the top companies in this industry segment are Aeroseal Windows, Champion Windows, Glass Doctor, Window Nation, and Window World. In total, over 25,000 window installation businesses are operating across the United States. Companies like these complete residential and improvement projects by installing various windows, from single-hung designs to double-pane styles.
Here are some of the standard windows you will find installed in homes:
What Is window glazing? According to Merriam-Webster, Glazing or glasswork is defined as the process of fitting window frames with glass. It also refers to the glass that goes inside a window and the window glazing compound or putty that holds the glass together. Similar to how glazier and glass contractors are interchangeable, window glass and window glazing are identical terms.
Windows can be either single glazed, double glazed, or triple glazed. Here is a breakdown of each:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), glaziers are those individuals who install glass into various fixtures, such as doors, windows, and skylights.
In residential construction, glaziers are responsible for getting all windows, mirrors, and shower doors installed. You will often find these workers installing items such as display cases, dividers, and storefront windows in commercial buildings. Glaziers may be self-employed, or they may be employees of companies that do commercial and residential glass installation.
Here are the areas where you will find most glaziers working:
|Foundation and Building Contractors||69%|
|Building Material Dealers||14%|
What does a glazier do? The work performed by glaziers is physically demanding. Their job responsibilities include:
Some of the most common glazing methods are:
Lastly, dap latexis a DAP® window glazing product commonly used to secure single pane glass with a tightly bound compound.
Window installers and glaziers use specialized equipment to perform the tasks related to their work. They also need to protect themselves from the risks associated with certain aspects of the job. Window installation is rarely a DIY project, even though toolkits can be found at home improvement stores like the Home Depot or the Window Shoppe.
Let's look at the tools and materials needed by professional windows installers and glaziers.
Glaziers work with all kinds of window frame materials, ranging from aluminum to fiberglass to wood. Here are some of the other common materials used in window installation:
No matter the task, the material, or the tools used, anyone handling glass knows that safety protocols must be practiced at all times. Otherwise, someone will easily be injured.
Glazing industry professionals emphasize the importance of taking proper safety precautions and abiding by all local and federal safety regulations. In fact, most companies go above and beyond OSHA and CCOHS standards to keep their workplaces safe.
These are the three most significant risks to worker safety:
In addition to those three risk factors, there are numerous other hazards faced. CCOHS explains that some of the specific injuries and illnesses that glaziers face include:
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed across virtually every industry segment, and window installation is no exception. When surveyed by O*NET OnLine, 78% of glaziers identified PPE as a critical need for the work they perform.
Jeld-Wen's installation guide highlights why installers need protective gear, as broken glass can easily cause serious injury. When glass breaks, it generally involves flying particles that can threaten harm to one's eyes. Andersen Windows highlights how most window components have sharp edges, requiring the use of cut-resistant gloves and sleeves.
Here are examples of the safety gear workers should consider:
We've been keeping workers safe for over 45 years, and that includes workers in the glass installation industry!
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At MCR Safety, we know the importance of protecting yourself with the best PPE available. We provide safety gear that keeps workers in the window installation industry safe! If you are working in this field, installing or repairing windows and glass, be sure to use the highest quality PPE you can find.
We welcome any comments, feedback, or suggestions for how we can best protect people at work.
For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it's during window installation, on the shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there to provide solutions to workplace hazards. It's all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.
Each year, more than 2.5 million eye injuries occur. Protect yourself by finding the right eye protection for the job.