Of all the advocacy discussions and debates we weighed in on in 2022 that impacted our industry, legislation surrounding furniture tip-over and clothing storage units for children topped the list.
Our industry has consistently pushed for a mandatory standard for clothing storage units for over a decade, with child safety and welfare at the forefront. In 2022, our industry, led by the diligent efforts of our partners at the American Home Furnishings Alliance (the association for furniture manufacturers), worked with concerned parent groups and safety advocates to craft a legislative compromise within the Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act (STURDY) Act. It addresses and meets additional safety concerns.
As this important work was being conducted, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) opted to ignore the collaborative work of all stakeholders and created and approved their standard that is, on the one hand, overkill and, on the other hand, nearly impossible to comply. There have been some estimates that hundreds of pounds of counterweight would need to be placed in 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. As 2022 came to a close, the STURDY Act was passed as part of the omnibus spending bill. At the same time, the CPSC, shortly after Thanksgiving, put into place their new standard.
As this year begins, we are dealing with dueling timelines and fundamental questions about which of these two rules will take precedence and when. The bottom line is this. We’ve been telling everyone in our industry that change was coming, and now that is an absolute certainty. How manufacturers and retailers prepare to comply with these new standards is the biggest question and most profound uncertainty for our industry as we begin this new year.
With that in mind, we have created an FAQ that outlines both tracks. This way, you have a roadmap and can prepare for whatever happens this year. It also gives everyone a basis for understanding so that when we send updates in the coming weeks, everyone can determine which track they need to focus on. This decision is incredibly messy, and we must ensure everyone has the information they need to understand and comply with these new standards.
Home Furnishings Association will keep you updated, but we highly recommend you review the FAQ and send us any questions. Be prepared!