Plate glass requires special care during transport to avoid injury or breakage. This includes wearing proper clothing to protect from cuts and broken glass, and using the right equipment to lift the glass properly and protect and support it while in transit. Glass is most safely transported using a specially built rack with a 4.5 degree angle from vertical, according to the Flat Glass Logistic Council. Each glass transport situation differs, but there are general safety considerations that are helpful for all possibilities.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Safety gear (hardhat, glasses, gloves, boots, trousers, shirt)
- Vacuum handles
- Glass transport rack
Wear all safety gear required for the specific glass-handling activity, including a hardhat, safety glasses, heavy-duty gloves with a rubberised grip, closed-toe shoes, and long-sleeved trousers and shirt. Kevlar safety sleeves, a protective vest, apron and leggings may also be required for protection from extensive exposure to sharp glass.
Hold the glass in a vertical position, gripping it from the top. If the piece is small enough, hold it with one hand on the top and the other on the bottom. Move larger pieces with helpers, or use equipment designed for the purpose, such as vacuum handles.
Set the glass on a rack that supports it at an angle of 4.5 degrees from the vertical, as recommended by the Flat Glass Logistic Council. The angle helps keep the glass more stable against wind during transport.
Secure the glass in place against the rack with straps designed for glass containment.
Place a tarp over the glass to protect it from wind and rain. Use proper equipment such as assist bars, a fork lift or crane when lifting the tarp into place over the glass to avoid exposure to sharp edges or possibly breaking the glass.
Tips and warnings
- It is always safest to transport glass vertically with proper support, but for small batches, such as glass for stained-glass projects, it may be possible to transport it flat in a cardboard box or wrapped in shipping paper.
- Load different sizes of glass so they are balanced equally on each side of the rack and don't unbalance the transport vehicle.
- Avoid transporting different sizes of glass if possible, as this creates stress points on the larger pieces unless the smaller sizes are properly supported.
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- Health and Safety Executive OC 687/5: Safety in the Handling of Flat Glass (PDF)
- Flat Glass Logistics Council: Guidelines - FGLC Final Guidelines and Guidelines for Glass Securement
- Glass Association of North America: Mirrors: Handle With Extreme Care (PDF)
- State Compensation Insurance Fund: Handle Glass Safely
- International Guild of Glass Artists, Inc.: Large Sheets of Glass
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: Glazier (Glass Worker)