Cabinetmakers who make clothing storage units may need to comply with new tipover rule

In June 2023, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after receiving no “significant adverse comments” regarding a federal safety standard that it had proposed for clothing storage units (CSU) determined the new standard was acceptable and would take effect September 1, 2023.

The standard concerns the potential for tipover of the units. According to data reported annually by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 100 children died from 2000 to 2021 when clothing storage furniture fell over on them. Another 170 died during the same period when furniture plus a TV on the furniture fell at the same time.

Although the number of incidents, particularly those involving TVs, has declined in recent years, the numbers point to too many furniture-related tragedies – at least a dozen each year – with most involving children under 5 years old.

While the American Home Furnishing Alliance led the fight for the standard based on an existing ASTM standard on behalf of its furniture manufacturing members, is it the only sector of the manufacturing industry that may have to meet the new standards requirements.  

The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association pondered that exact question. According to the KCMA's latest newsletter, "Many KCMA members that manufacture clothing storage units (CSUs) have inquired as to whether CPSC’s new mandatory safety standard applies to CSUs that are plainly intended to be affixed to the wall but have not yet been affixed. The answer is that the rule does apply to such CSUs." 

To assist in navigating the new rule, KCMA commissioned its outside counsel, Beveridge & Diamond, to review the new CPSC CSU Rule and break it down for our members, including:

  • CSU definitions
  • Scope of the rule
  • Rule requirements
  • Staying out of scope
  • Sample contract language

Details 

The new federal safety standard for clothing storage furniture is based on ASTM International’s F2057-23 voluntary standard. All products within the scope of the standard with a manufacture date on or after September 1 must meet the stability and labeling requirements within the rule.

Those requirements will be reviewed and demonstrated at an August 9-10 Regulatory Summit hosted by the American Home Furnishings Alliance exclusively for its member companies. AHFA led the opposition to the CPSC’s original CSU rule, which would have resulted in a required “stability rating” for a wide range of products beyond just clothing storage units. The rating was derived from a complex set of performance tests and calculations that were found to produce inconsistent results.

When the CPSC proceeded with the rule despite objections from AHFA and other stakeholders, the Alliance filed for a judicial review and a stay of the rule’s May 23, 2023, effective date. While pursuing this legal remedy, the Alliance also continued collaborating with parents, child safety advocates, retail members of the Home Furnishings Association and others to secure passage of the STURDY Act, which was amended in 2022 to require the CPSC to adopt the revised voluntary standard as the new mandatory rule, as long as that voluntary standard was found to meet the performance requirements within STURDY.

These advocacy efforts eventually resulted in adoption of the STURDY Act and the agency’s approval of ASTM F2057-23. The final rule incorporating F2057-23 by reference was published in the Federal Register on May 4 and needed only to clear the June 5 deadline for “significant adverse comments” to confirm its September effective date.

.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user larryadams
About the author
Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).