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CPSC adopts ASTM tipover rule as mandatory federal standard

By Larry Adams April 19, 2023 | 11:46 am CDT

BETHESDA, Md. — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 3-1 today to adopt ASTM International’s F2057-23 voluntary stability standard as the new mandatory safety standard for clothing storage units required under the STURDY Act.

Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. introduced three motions and eight amendments, for a total of 11 proposals designed to defeat or delay the commission’s action today. Trumka cast the lone vote in opposition to the final rule after the proposals were voted down by his fellow commissioners.

STURDY is the “Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth” Act, legislation enacted in December as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2023.

“Today’s CPSC action is welcome news for industry, safety advocates, consumers, parents and children,” said Andy Counts, CEO of the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA). “And we join with all of these stakeholders in thanking the CPSC for acknowledging and validating the hard work and extraordinary collaboration that made today’s action possible.”

The agency’s action included a stay of the existing CPSC Final Rule that was adopted in November 2022 and slated to take effect May 24, 2023. The stay voids that rule and its May 24 effective date.

Publication of the new direct final rule based on F2057-23 will open a 30-day comment period. If there are no “significant adverse comments” requiring CPSC response, the final rule will be published at the end of the comment period and take effect 120 days later. This “best case scenario” points to an October 2023 effective date. However, this timeline could be somewhat extended by any delay in the Federal Register’s publishing schedule.

The new stability requirements will apply to all units within the scope of the rule with a manufacture date on or after the rule’s effective date.

The STURDY Act was signed by President Biden on December 29, 2022, as part of the 2023 Omnibus spending bill. STURDY directed the CPSC to develop a mandatory consumer product safety regulation for clothing storage furniture within one year of the date it was signed.

Under F2057-23, the scope of the new federal safety standard for CSUs encompasses free-standing clothing storage units, including but not limited to chests, chests of drawers, armoires, bureaus, door chests and dressers that: • are 27 inches or greater in height; AND • are 30 pounds or greater in weight; AND • contain 3.2 cubic feet or greater of enclosed storage volume.

Units must meet ALL three of the above criteria to fall within the scope of the rule. These criteria were developed to cover children up to 72 months of age, which account for approximately 80 percent of all deaths related to CSU tip-overs.

F2057-23 does not cover shelving units such as bookcases or entertainment furniture. It does not cover office furniture, dining room furniture, underbed drawer storage units, jewelry armoires, laundry storage/sorting units or occasional/accent furniture that is not intended for bedroom use. Many of these categories fell within the much broader scope of the CPSC’s original Final Rule.

Compliant units must pass three performance tests. The set-up, equipment required and precise procedure for each test is detailed in F2057-23, which can be purchased here.

1. Simulated Clothing Load. All extendible elements and spaces behind doors are loaded with 8.5 pounds per cubic foot. All doors and loaded drawers are opened. The loaded unit must remain upright for 30 seconds. (There is a separate test for units with drawer interlocks that prevent 50 percent or more of the extendible elements from opening.)

2. Simulated Horizontal Dynamic Force. With all doors open and all elements extended, a 10-pound horizontal force is applied to the highest hand-hold, not to exceed 56 inches. The unit must not tip while the force is applied to the top edge of a drawer or to the center of the pull area of the extendible element and held for 10 seconds.

3. Simulated Carpet Test with Child Weight. A test block of .43 inches is placed under the rear legs or base of the unit to simulate the impact of units placed on carpet. All doors are opened and all elements extended. A test weight of 60 pounds is applied gradually over the top of the door or extendible element most likely to cause tip-over and remains in place for 30 seconds without causing the unit to tip over.

AHFA, along with Parents Against Tip-overs, consumer advocates, child safety experts and other industry groups worked closely together to win Congressional approval of STURDY and to advance ASTM F2057-23 as the mandatory standard required by STURDY.

“Parents Against Tip-overs (PAT) is thrilled with the CPSC’s approval of the much-improved ASTM F2057-23 as the mandatory new stability standard,” said Brett Horn of PAT. “A strong mandatory standard has been the individual and shared goal of all PAT parents for 20 years. Despite our childrens’ tragic deaths being the 'data' and stories that justified the need for these changes, we were able to push through the emotion and compromise with industry groups and individual manufacturers to pass the STURDY Act, which, after today’s vote, makes life-saving improvements to the tip over standard mandatory for all manufacturers. We look forward to this long overdue safety step being embraced by furniture manufacturers and retailers.”

Members of AHFA’s Furniture Safety Task Group were instrumental in developing the new performance tests that would meet the requirements in STURDY.

“In its assessment of ASTM F2057-23, CPSC staff noted that that the new ASTM performance tests meet STURDY’s requirements and are objective, repeatable, reproducible and measurable,” noted Bill Perdue, AHFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. “Thanks to the members of AHFA’s Furniture Safety Task Group and the entire ASTM Subcommittee on Furniture Safety, the new mandatory safety standard provides rigorous performance tests with a clear pathway to compliance for the industry.”

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