HFA says CPSC tip-over rule may threaten employee safety

HIGH POINT – The Home Furnishings Assn. has joined the American Home Furnishings Alliance in urging the furniture industry to contact Congress and protest the CPSC’s new furniture stability rule from going into effect.

In a notice sent out to both members and non-members, the HFA argued that if weight needs to be added to furniture – which it estimates could be up to 100 pounds per item – the safety of warehouse and delivery teams may be threatened. Customers will also be negatively impacted, as they’ll have difficulty moving furniture after it’s delivered.

Here is the notice in full, written by HFA CEO Mark Schumacher:

“Tip-over safety may now threaten the safety of your warehouse and delivery teams and have negative impacts on your customers.

“I am sure you are aware that our home furnishings industry has consistently pushed for a mandatory clothing storage unit (CSU) safety standard for nearly 20 years with a goal of avoiding tip-over and enhancing child safety. This important effort culminated with the Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act (STURDY), which is a collaboration between furniture industry stakeholders, parent and consumer groups and testing labs. They all came together to agree on strong new standards and testing requirements. That is a huge victory for the families you serve.

“On Dec. 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law the ‘Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023’ which included the STURDY Act. Here is the problem. Part of this new law directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to conduct a rulemaking on CSU tip-overs, and requires the commission to adopt the new stronger standards (to be published in February 2023). Instead of embracing this huge step forward for child safety, CPSC commissioners opted to ignore the collaborative work of all stakeholders in STURDY and create a competing Final Rule for CSU tip-overs.

“It is needless and makes addressing safety almost impossible. There are estimates that up to 100 pounds of counterweight would need to be added to clothing storage units to comply with the new CPSC rule. That would make the furniture nearly impossible to engineer and completely unmanageable from a sales, delivery and installation standpoint. Imagine what this would do to your warehouse and delivery teams and how this could impact workers’ comp claims. Once delivered, customers will have difficulty managing any moves of the furniture, and as their retailer you will take the heat from them.”

As with the AHFA’s letter earlier this week, the notice goes on to urge the industry to get in touch with their congressional representative. The HFA drafted a letter than can be sent to Congress. That can be found here.

The CPSC rule is scheduled to go into effect May 24.

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