By Bonny Burrows
A Pakenham woman has warned of the dangers of imported glass after a nasty slip in the shower resulted in a three-day hospital stay.
Barbara Ward was showering in her unit about 1pm on Friday when she slipped and fell against the shower screen, impaling herself on shards of glass.
She was able to pick herself up and call an ambulance but with cuts on her back up to three centimetres deep, Ms Ward said she was lucky to be alive.
“The shower screen was pushed in and broken into large slices which were embedded into my back. I was basically impaled,” Ms Ward said.
“I’m just lucky it didn’t puncture a kidney.“
After consulting with health professionals and those in the building industry, the 64 year-old has now made it her personal mission to warn against the dangers of dated glass.
“One guy said he sees it all the time with this glass. He told me he’s always out replacing broken shower screens in older showers,” Ms Ward said.
“I’ve heard horror stories … just recently a mother had sat her child next to the shower and the glass just exploded.
“It could happen to anyone at any time.”
Child accident prevention foundation Kidsafe recommends only installing shower screens that comply with Australian Standards AS/NZS1288 and 2208 and are made of grade A toughened glass or grade B wired glass.
These standards were introduced nationally in 1989; however Ms Ward said many older Pakenham homes pre-dating the regulations contained showers with “cheap, unsafe, often imported” glass.
A Kidsafe spokesperson said if a home was built before the mid-1970s “it is very likely that very little safety glass was installed”.
Ms Ward said she now knew her 40 year-old shower didn’t comply with Australian standards, something she wished she had known of earlier.
“If I had known when I moved in seven years ago, it would have been my first priority to change the glass,” Ms Ward said.
She is now urging local households to contact an accredited glazier to identify the type of shower screen used in the family home, and to replace any potentially hazardous glass with the best quality glass they could afford.
Buying imported glass to save a few bucks was not worth the risk, she said.
“If you’ve got the money please make it a priority,” Ms Ward said.
“It’s just so dangerous.”