AHFA Broadens Compliance Awareness Campaign
April 10, 2018 – HIGH POINT, N.C. – Hundreds of “WE COMPLY” tent cards will be on display in High Point Market showrooms this week as part of an American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) campaign to broaden the industry’s compliance with a voluntary stability standard that helps prevent furniture tip-over accidents.
ASTM International adopted the standard, F2057, in 2000 and updated it in 2004, 2009, 2014 and again in 2017 to improve its effectiveness and to take new product designs into consideration. It applies to all residential clothing storage furniture 30 inches high or taller.
Companies that display the “WE COMPLY” card have engineered their products to comply with ASTM F2057-17. Specifically, the covered products have been tested to ensure they pass two stability performance tests outlined in the standard. Covered products also must carry a warning label specified in the standard, and they must be shipped with tip restraints and instructions for installing the restraints.
To pass the stability performance tests, an empty unit cannot tip when all doors are open and all drawers are open to the “stop,” or open two-thirds of the way if there is no “stop.” Covered units also cannot tip when one drawer is open to the “stop” (or two-thirds of the way if there is no “stop”) and a 50-pound weight is applied to the center front of the drawer. This second test is repeated for each drawer (and door, if any) in the unit.
A separate standard, ASTM F3096-14, sets forth testing criteria for the tip restraints.
“Although this standard is ‘voluntary,’ we are constantly reminding companies that this does not mean it is ‘optional’ for manufacturers or for retailers,” said AHFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Bill Perdue. “Products that do not meet voluntary safety standards can be deemed a ‘substantial product hazard’ by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. That often leads to a costly product recall.”
Working in conjunction with the CPSC, 10 different companies recalled products in 2017 due to non-compliance with the voluntary stability standard. Altogether these recalls involved more than 1.8 million clothing storage units. There was one injury reported in conjunction with these recalled products.
The tally rises, however, when IKEA’s recall of 17.3 million dressers and chests is added. The non-compliant IKEA products were first recalled in June 2016, but CPSC and IKEA re-issued the recall in November 2017 after an eighth child died in a tip-over accident involving one of the recalled units.
In light of the 2016 and 2017 recalls, Perdue said AHFA created the “WE COMPLY” campaign to raise both manufacturer and retailer awareness of the importance of selling only compliant furniture.
Between 2000 and 2016, CPSC received reports of 150 deaths as a result of furniture tipping over. Another 150 deaths were reported from incidents in which a television and the furniture holding it both tipped over. Of these 300 deaths, CPSC reports 83 percent were children.
AHFA has worked with furniture manufacturers, the CPSC and child safety experts for nearly two decades on safety measures specifically designed to increase the stability of residential furniture and to reduce the number of furniture tip-over accidents. More information on the voluntary ASTM furniture stability standard and how to comply is available at http://www.ahfa.us/furniture-tip-over/.