US CPSC sets new safety standard for clothing storage furniture

Manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of clothing storage furniture need to comply with new ways their products are constructed, tested and labeled as the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has approved a new federal mandatory safety

In an article published by the US-based Furniture World Magazine, the standard aims to protect young children from injury or death resulting when furniture tips over on them.

The rule covers freestanding chests, dressers, armoires and bureaus but is not limited to furniture that is marketed for “clothing storage.” Any storage furniture that is 27 inches or more in height with a total functional volume of closed storage (drawers and/or interior cabinet space) and open storage (shelves) greater than 1.3 cubic feet falls within the scope of the standard.

Nightstands, shelving units, office furniture, dining furniture, accent chests and any other type of storage furniture meeting this functional definition must be tested and labeled according to the requirements outlined in the rule.

According to CPSC, the new standard would require clothing storage units (CSUs) to exceed minimum stability requirements and display important safety information and performance and technical data.

The stability requirements reflect real-world factors, like multiple open drawers, drawers containing clothing-representative loads, angling CSUs to replicate the effects of placement on carpet and forces a child exerts while climbing or pulling on a CSU, all of which are shown to occur during CSU tip overs and contribute to their instability.

The new standard also includes test methods for CSUs with interlocks which can improve CSU stability by preventing all drawers from being opened at once.

It likewise requires that CSUs are marked and labeled with safety and identification information and display a hang tag providing performance and technical data about the product’s stability.

CPSC designed the hang tag to prominently display a unit’s stability rating. Originally, the rating was to be displayed on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 labeled on the tag as “less stable” and 5 labeled as “more stable”.

It amended the hangtag in its final rule, changing the rating scale from 0 to 5 to 0 to 2, with “1” continuing to be the minimum acceptable stability rating.
CPSC voted to approve the new federal safety standard for clothing storage furniture on Oct. 19, 2022. It will take effect 180 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

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