WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. – ASTM International, a developer of international voluntary consensus standards for product safety, has published an update of F2057, the voluntary stability standard for clothing storage furniture. The safety specification is intended to cover children up to 72 months, as approximately 80 % of deaths relate to children 5 years or younger.
The F2057-23 Standard Safety Specification for Clothing Storage Units, is available for purchase at https://www.astm.org/f2057-23.html. The cost is $98.
This safety specification is intended to reduce injuries and deaths of children from hazards associated with tipover of clothing storage units. It covers chests, drawer chests, chests of drawers, dressers, and bureaus only.
This safety specification does not cover shelving units, such as bookcases or entertainment furniture, office furniture, dining room furniture, jewelry armoires, underbed drawer storage units, occasional/accent furniture not intended for bedroom use, laundry storage/sorting units, or built-in units intended to be permanently attached to the building, nor does it cover “Clothing Storage Chests” as defined in Consumer Safety Specification F2598.
The safety specification is intended to cover children up to 72 months
Home furnishing alliance
The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) and more than a dozen of its member companies are members of ASTM’s Furniture Safety Subcommittee, F15.42, which drafted the update of F2057. Parents, consumer advocates, regulators and manufacturers who are not members of AHFA also are part of the diverse subcommittee.
The subcommittee developed the 2023 update with the goal of meeting the technical performance requirements outlined in the Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act – known as STURDY, which was enacted December 29, 2022, after being passed by Congress as part of the 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill.
STURDY requires the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to promulgate a mandatory safety standard for clothing storage furniture that includes certain performance requirements. Those requirements include:
• Performance tests that simulate “real-world” use of clothing storage furniture, among them a test that accounts for the impact of carpeted flooring on stability, a test that accounts for the impact of “loaded” drawers and multiple drawers open, and a test that simulates the dynamic force of a child climbing or playing on the unit;
• Performance tests that simulate the weight of children up to 60 pounds; and,
• Performance tests that apply to all clothing storage units 27 inches and taller.
Once the F2057 voluntary standard met the requirements of STURDY, it could be adopted by CPSC as the new mandatory standard. But as STURDY inched closer to passage, CPSC advanced its own mandatory safety standard for clothing storage furniture.
AHFA urges support for STURDY
The AHFA has filed a motion to delay the implementation of CPSC tipover rule and urged its members to contact their elected representatives to support STURDY, and protest the CPSC rule.
According to AHFA, the CPSC rule, published November 25, 2022, with an effective date of May 24, 2023, also was designed to address the impact of “real world” scenarios on the stability of clothing storage units. But in its final rule, first released in July 2021, CPSC shifted from objective pass/fail performance tests to a novel approach focused on comparative “stability ratings” for each individual unit, the association said.
To determine this stability rating, CPSC requires manufacturers to calculate each unit’s “tip-over moment,” which is then compared with a “threshold tip-over moment.” Manufacturers have found the instructions for determining these measures to be ambiguous, and the calculations produce variable results.
AHFA maintains that without a clear pathway for manufacturers to comply with the rule, CPSC will have no clear pathway for enforcement.
To ensure a viable alternative to the CPSC rule, AHFA worked with Parents Against Tip-overs, The Consumer Federation of America, Kids in Danger and other key stakeholders last summer to negotiate an amendment to STURDY directing CPSC to review the revised F2057 voluntary standard and, if it was found to meet the performance requirements of STURDY, to adopt it as the mandatory standard. The broad-based coalition was successful in winning bipartisan support in the Senate for the amended STURDY and, ultimately, in securing full Congressional approval.
As required by STURDY, the revised ASTM voluntary standard has been published within 60 days of STURDY’s enactment. A joint letter from PAT and AHFA to CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric reminds the commission that the new F2057-23, along with the amended STURDY Act that endorses it – is the result of parents, industry, consumer advocates, and child safety experts all united in the goal to advance child safety.
CPSC is now required to review F2057-23 and determine whether it will support the work of the coalition. Once its determination is made, the agency has 90 days to promulgate a final rule. Although STURDY does not specify a timeframe within which the CPSC’s decision must be made, it does give the agency a December 29 deadline for publishing the final rule.
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