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ASTM Publishes Revised Furniture Tip-Over Standard

Furniture World News


ASTM International, a developer of voluntary consensus standards for product safety and quality, has published a revised safety standard designed to help prevent the accidental tip over of residential furniture – specifically, chests and dressers over 30 inches in height.

The “Standard Safety Specification for Clothing Storage Units” (ASTM F2057-14) has been in place since 2000. It was updated in 2004 and again in 2009. It applies to all storage units, not just those designed for youth bedrooms, although the majority of tip-over accidents occur when children attempt to climb on furniture.

The 2009 revision added the requirement that all furniture covered by the standard be shipped with a tip-over warning label, tip restraints and directions for installing the tip restraints. The 2014 revision, which makes a modification to the testing protocol, is accompanied by a new performance standard for tip restraints (ASTM F3096-14).

Growing popularity of “full-extension” drawer glides led to the revision in the tip-over testing method that was finalized this month. According to Bill Perdue, AHFA vice president of regulatory affairs and chairman of the ASTM Furniture Safety Committee that drafted the revised standard, full extension drawer glides were not widely used in residential furniture when the previous rule was written. Furniture was tested by pulling drawers out, one at a time, to the “stop” or to “two thirds of their operational sliding length,” whichever was shorter. Then, a weight totaling 50 pounds (approximating the weight of a small child) was applied to the center front of the drawer. If applying the 50-pound weight to any one of the drawers caused the piece to tip, it failed the test.

As full-extension drawer glides became a popular feature, the ASTM Furniture Safety Committee determined that the original test needed to be revised, so drawers that were constructed to be used fully extended would be tested fully extended, rather than at two-thirds of their operational sliding length.

Drawers with no drawer stop can still be tested at two thirds of the operational sliding length.

Although ASTM standards are voluntary, Perdue emphasizes the importance of compliance.

“ASTM standards are considered baseline safety ‘best practices.’ As such, failure to comply with these voluntary measures creates a legal liability,” he points out.

“In addition, widespread industry compliance with voluntary measures keeps them voluntary. Keeping them voluntary means that the standards can be developed by technical experts and industry professionals at the helm, rather than government officials.”

Copies of the revised furniture tip-over standard and the new tip restraint performance standard can be obtained from ASTM at www.astm.org.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance, based in High Point, N.C., represents more than 200 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, plus over 150 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide. AHFA is the industry’s representative on Capitol Hill and elsewhere throughout the United States on legislative and regulatory matters that impact the import and manufacture of residential furnishings.

ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. Today, some 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.

Most Injuries and Deaths Involve Children Under 10 Years of Age

From 2011 to 2013, there were an estimated 38,000 injuries a year linked to tipping televisions, furniture and appliances, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In a report dated August and released in September, the CPSC noted 430 deaths from 2000 to 2013. The majority of victims (84%) were under age 10.

Televisions were involved in 65% of the deaths, with 27% of those also involving furniture. Furniture-only accidents accounted for 28%, and appliances 7%.

TVs accounted for about 15,400 of the annual injuries; furniture-only for 21,100 injuries; and appliances for 1,500 injuries.

The CPSC’s report is available at http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/171154/InstabilityorTipoverReport2014Stamped.pdf

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