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Unstable clothing storage units have resulted in thousands of injuries and several deaths over the years, especially amongst children, making it a primary focus for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Child climbing onto drawers

On February 27, the CPSC’s Deputy Executive Director, DeWane Ray, published a letter to the furniture industry strongly urging adherence to clothing storage unit standard – ASTM F2057-17, Safety Specification for Clothing Storage Unit. Addressed to manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers, the letter also states that clothing storage units which are applicable to ASTM F2057 but do not adhere, will be considered “defective”.

The CPSC, an independent federal regulatory agency responsible for protecting consumers from unreasonable injury or death in relation to consumer products, has made it clear that defective products will be investigated. Section 15(a) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. § 2064(a) gives the CPSC the authority to initiate an investigation of products that present a substantial hazard to the public and can seek the corrective action when deemed appropriate.

The letter goes on to remind stakeholders of their reporting responsibilities. Section 15(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), 15 U.S.C. § 2064(b), requires manufacturers and suppliers of consumer products to immediately inform the CPSC if they obtain information that a consumer product may contain a defect that could create a substantial hazard leading to an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. The letter concludes by restating the civil and/or criminal penalties for knowingly and willfully violating these responsibilities.

ASTM F2057

Originally established in 2000, ASTM F2057 is a voluntary standard designed to reduce the rate of fatal incidents associated with the tipping-over of free-standing clothing storage items, 30 inches or taller. It defines a clothing storage item as, “a furniture item intended for the storage of clothing typical of bedroom furniture”, and specifically mentions chests, door chests, and dressers.

Furniture items not covered by the standard include shelving units (e.g. bookcases and entertainment units), office furniture, dining room furniture, jewelry armoires, under-bed drawer storage units, and built-in units intended to be permanently attached to the building.

While technically considered a voluntary safety standard, the CPSC has referenced ASTM F2057 in recent high-profile mandated recalls for unstable furniture. The letter of February 27, 2019, essentially affirms ASTM F2057 as a mandatory standard, only not in name.

Anchor It!

The CPSC has been and continues to be engaged in an awareness campaign relating to the dangers of children climbing storage furniture. They recently launched “Anchor It!” – a national public education campaign to prevent furniture and TV tip-overs from killing and seriously injuring children.

In February, Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle also reiterated, during her keynote speaker address at the International Product Safety Week and the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO, that tip-over remains a primary focus for the CPSC.

SGS Solution

SGS has considerable experience in offering efficient and cost-effective testing solutions to furniture manufacturers. We have the industry, regulatory and technical expertise to ensure products comply with relevant standards, helping business deliver well-designed, functional, durable and safe products to their customers. For more information, visit SGS Furniture.

For further information, please contact: 

Matthew McGarrity
Senior Technical Manager - Hardlines
SGS - North America, Inc.
t: +1 (973) 461 1505