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What is Safety Glass

What is Safety Glass

Safety glass is engineered to be substantially more robust than conventional glass, demonstrating a heightened resistance to breakage. It finds its applications broadly, from automobile windshields to doors and windows, or any location that holds a risk of human impact.

Different Types of Safety Glass


Toughened Glass

Toughened glass is created by heating regular glass to high temperatures and then cooling it abruptly. This treatment results in a product that is approximately five times sturdier than ordinary glass. On the rare occasions when it does break, it crumbles into tiny, dull-edged pieces instead of sharp, dangerous shards.

Laminated Glass

Composed of two or more glass sheets bonded together with a plastic interlayer, laminated glass exhibits an additional safety feature. If broken, the plastic interlayer retains the fragments, significantly reducing the risk of injury.

Wired Glass

A less commonly used variety of safety glass, wired glass involves embedding a metal mesh during the manufacturing process. It’s considered a grade B safety glass and is seldom chosen for contemporary applications.

Compulsory Use of Safety Glass in Australia 

Wherever there is a risk of human impact, the use of safety glass is mandated. The fundamental reason for this rule is the decreased likelihood of breakage and injury compared to regular glass.

Choosing the Right Safety Glass

Image Description
Car for Automobile Windshields

Automobile Windshields

  • Preferred Glass Type: Laminated Safety Glass
  • Note: Remains intact when broken.
Residential Home for Residential Windows

Residential Windows

  • Suitable Glass Types: Toughened or Laminated Glass
  • Note: Both types are suitable.
Bridge for Australian Glass Balustrades

Australian Glass Balustrades

  • Preferred Glass Type: Toughened Safety Glass
  • Note: Complies with Australian Glass Balustrade Regulations and Standards.
Swimmer for Areas Near Swimming Pools

Areas Near Swimming Pools

  • Preferred Glass Type: Laminated Glass
  • Note: Safer alternative in areas prone to severe impact.
Door for Doors


  • Glass Types: Toughened or Laminated Safety Glass
  • Note: Toughened safety glass is required for unframed doors.
Framed Picture for Side Panels Near Doors

Side Panels Near Doors

  • Glass Type: Ordinary Annealed Glass
  • Minimum Thickness: 5mm
  • Note: Only under 0.3 m² or else safety glass must be used
Thinking Face for Glass Mistaken for Doorways/Openings

Glass Mistaken for Doorways/Openings

  • Glass Type: Grade A Safety Glass
  • Note: Specific criteria to determine if the panel can be mistaken for an opening.
Bathtub for Bathrooms


  • Glass Types: Grade A or B Safety Glass
  • Exceptions: Mirrors fully adhered or protected
  • Note: Different requirements for fully, partly, and frameless glazing.
Window for Low-Level Windows

Low-Level Windows

  • Glass Type: Grade A Safety Glass for above 1.2m² and 5mm Annealed glass for under 1.2m²
  • Note: Specific requirements for low level glazing.
Window for Two Edge Unframed Glazing (Sashless Windows)

Two Edge Unframed Glazing (Sashless Windows)

  • Glass Types: Toughened, Laminated Safety Glass
  • Note: Applies to glass within 2000mm of ground or floor level, special considerations for high wind areas.
Ladder for Stairway Glazing

Stairway Glazing

  • Glass Type: Toughened or Laminated Glass
  • Note: Safety glass not required if protected by a solid barrier.

While laminated safety glass offers superior protection against breakage and injury, it also carries the highest cost among the different types. Therefore, if budget constraints exist, toughened safety glass presents a cost-effective alternative that still provides robust protection.

What Are Safety Glass Requirements in Australia?


As a general guide, you will need safety glass in the following areas according to AS1288 Standards –

  • all glass doors
  • door side panels (if less than 0.3m away from the door and positioned 1.2m or less above the floor)
  • bathrooms (for all areas up to 2 metres high)
  • areas that can be mistaken for openings
  • around stairs (for a distance of 1m from either side of the stairs and 2m from the bottom of the stairs)
  • low level glass (if larger than 1.2 metres – areas under 1.2 metres require a minimum of 5mm thick glass)

Case Study - Home Safety Upgrade with Toughened Glass in Ashfield

Sarah Qin faced a scary situation when her accidentally rode he’s tricycle into the glass door and shattering it on impact in their 1980s-built home. A large piece of glass narrowly missed her son, shocking the entire family.

Swiftly seeking professional advice, Sarah enlisted the help of Khalil from Splendid Window Glass Repairs. Khalil inspected the property and confirmed that the existing glass, being standard float glass from the 1980s, did not meet the current AS1288 safety standards.

Despite the substantial expense, Sarah decided to replace all the glass in her home with toughened safety glass. This significant decision has since brought the family peace of mind, as the new glass is highly durable and has eliminated fears of potential glass-related accidents. This case highlights the crucial importance of safety glass in homes, especially those with young children.

Broken float glass in Sarah's door
The broken door glass broken into shards which narrowly missed Sarah's son
Picture of Khalil Chahine
Khalil Chahine

Khalil is the owner of Splendid Window Glass Repairs and has over 8 years experience as a glazier specialising in window glass repair, replacement and installations. Khalil takes great pride in his work and prides himself on providing an excellent service to all of his customers, no matter how big or small the job may be.