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Monday October 10, 2016

Fix Standard or Face Tipover Rule, CPSC Warns Furniture Makers

CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye October 10 warned of the potential of a mandatory rule in FY2017 to address furniture tipovers unless industry addresses problems staffers see with the ASTM voluntary standard. Kaye took the uncommon step of promoting two recent staff reports, which, he told reporters are "deeply troubling." He acknowledged the timing realities of ASTM balloting and other standards-making activities, but said that he expects to have an idea by November of the likely direction, depending on whether industry tries to debunk the CPSC work or engages good-faith efforts to address the concerns raised.


He mentioned four issues with clothing storage units: testing to the weight of normal 5 year olds, considering dynamic rather than static testing to account for movement caused by when children climb, including carpet in testing as that often is less stable than a hard surface, and ensuring effective placement of warning labels.


The reports address two issues related to the CPSA barriers against rulemakings when voluntary standard exist: compliance and injury levels. Kaye described the contents with terms like "outrageous" and "major, major deficiencies. He added that some incident scenarios – like children using drawers for climbing or opening multiple ones when dressing – are "totally foreseeable" and "real world." Highlights of the documents included:

  • Compliance: About half (31 of 61) clothing storage models tested by CPSC did not pass the stability requirements in ASTM F2057-14, Standard Safety Specification for Clothing Storage Units. From this, the report predicted that 118 of 531 models identified in a convenience survey would fail. These would involve 51 of 102 manufacturers. As well, most failed labeling provisions or lacked labels altogether, and staff noted "manufacturers are inconsistent in their interpretation of and adherence to the warning requirements." Additionally, 26 of 61 failed requirements to provide tip restraint devices (TRDs). The report identified four areas for staffers will emphasize with the ASTM F15.42 subcommittee: testing based on 95th percentile 5 year olds (60 lbs.), tip restraint performance requirements, testing that allows for innovative or alternate TRDs, and label modifications. The report is at

  • Incidents: There were 489 known deaths associated with toppling furniture from 2000 to 2015. The estimated annual average number of injuries is 33,100. Among the deaths, 84% (411) were among children under 14 years. A majority of fatalities involved TVs: 64% (315). A task group for the F15.42 subcommittee currently is looking at the standard regarding the TV-furniture interaction (PSL, 8/29/16). The incident report is at