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Safety First

The industry continues to prioritize safety, as evidenced through window, screen and manufacturing safety considerations  

Tilt and turn window

As the parent of two young boys, safety is a top priority in my household. Most of my safety reminders are of dangers outside the home in environments I can’t control. “Look both ways before crossing the road.” “Don’t play in the stream without an adult nearby.” “Hold an adult’s hand when walking through a parking lot.” 

We’re more relaxed in our own home. The inside of my house is largely kid-proofed and they know the rules. But as my younger one gains more mobility and independence, as the weather warms in Pennsylvania, and as he continues to hone his escape artist skills, I need to be extra cognizant of the openings in our home. Namely, windows and doors.   

Window Safety Week is April 7-12. Although this week typically is geared toward consumers—especially parents of young children—window manufacturers should take note. Window Safety Week makes me think about several aspects of safety in our industry, including window safety, screen safety and manufacturing safety. 

1. Window safety 

Window opening control devices, or WOCDs, were introduced as a window fall protection device starting with the 2008 version of the ASTM International F2090, Standard Specification for Window Fall Prevention Devices with Emergency Escape (Egress) Release Mechanisms. The Window & Door Manufacturers Association and Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance released a technical bulletin in March to clarify the definition of a WOCD and promote greater understanding of its function. AAMA/WDMA TB-24-01 is written to “help users understand the important role of WOCDs, and how to tell the difference between them and other window hardware types like vent limiters or night latches, designed for different purposes,” says Dan Raap, AmesburyTruth, co-chair of the FGIA WOCD Update Task Group. 

2. Screen safety 

My five-year-old recently walked straight into the screen on our sliding door. Rather than walking through the screen as my brother did at a comparable age nearly 40 years ago, my son bounced off the screen, looked momentarily startled then opened the door to walk through properly. This, of course, made me think about the changes in screens through the past several decades. 

Adam Wilson, vice president of sales and business development, North American Fenestration, Quanex, recently wrote about how screens can help enhance a company’s commitment to safety and security. Today’s high-tensile meshes, for example, are known to have a higher resistance to forced-entry methods. This can be a powerful safety feature, especially when paired with other methods such as multi-point locking systems. Read more at  

3. Manufacturing safety 

Window safety starts well before the windows reach a consumer’s home. Window manufacturers are taking more notice than ever before of creating a safe manufacturing environment for their employees. Machinery, software and technology play strongly into this. 

Mike Biffl, vice president of sales and marketing, Sturtz Machinery, told Window + Door in this year’s Industry Pulse survey about companies running antiquated equipment that does not meet today’s safety standards. “Companies are coming to us to discuss plans to retire the old equipment and modernize their operations while improving overall employee safety.” He notes the increased workplace safety culture in recent years and how customers now expect the latest enhancements to keep employees safe without sacrificing usability and maintainability. 


Laurie Cowin headshot

Laurie Cowin

Laurie Cowin is editor of Window + Door. Contact her at