HFA members meeting with U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorsky (R-Ind.) in Washington, D.C., in May 2019.
Government relations & regulations: Tip-over problem warrants "highest attention".
The problem of furniture tip-overs “is receiving the agency’s highest attention at this time”, Peter Feldman of the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) told Home Furnishings Association members in Washington, DC.
Earlier this year, the CPSC issued a letter warning furniture retailers against selling clothing storage units that don’t meet the voluntary safety standard published by ASTM. In June, the New York State Legislature passed a law requiring compliance with ASTM guidelines. Also, the U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill that would set strict requirements. And the CPSC is moving toward the adoption of a mandatory standard.
This activity responds to a serious problem. Bedroom dressers, chests and similar pieces can fall over if children try to climb on them. These accidents have caused devastating injuries and even deaths.
Retailers need to comply with safety standards and to equip purchasers with restraining devices to secure furniture to walls or floors. HFA meets with policymakers, sits on ASTM’s Furniture Safety subcommittee and participates in deliberations about updating the stability standard.
Tip-overs warrant HFA members’ highest attention, but there are many other concerns. There are a wide range of legislative and regulatory developments at state and national levels, from trade, to taxes, to data security and online privacy. HFA belongs to business and industry coalitions, combining its strength with other groups that have similar interests. HFA's Government Relations Action Team holds regular conference calls, and undertakes an annual trip to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress and regulatory agency leaders.
Retailers work hard to operate their businesses, provide employment, pay taxes and serve the needs of their customers. Not all of them have time to monitor government activity that can affect their bottom line. The Association tries to do that for HFA members and to use its influence on their behalf.
Sometimes that means reminding retailers of their responsibility to always make safety a top priority. The most effective way to prevent a child’s dresser from tipping over is to anchor it to a solid surface. Every customer who purchases a clothing storage unit must leave with a sturdy product and the proper restraining devices, along with instructions for installation.
In upcoming issues of Furniture World, HFA will share more regulatory and legislative news. In the meantime, you can keep up with the latest on HFA’s Policy Matters blog:
A feature about Home Furnishings Association's retail members, legislation affecting the furniture industry and other retail news from HFA.