ASTM's Role in Standards Development: Preventing Tipovers

    Many product safety standards are developed using the ASTM International consensus process, which gives all participants an equal voice in the process. These voluntary standards help enhance safety and performance, giving people more confidence in the things they buy and use.

    Nearly 1,000 ASTM members are part of Committee F15 on Consumer Products. They are responsible for maintaining about 100 standards for a wide variety of products including toys, furniture, baby cribs and other juvenile products, jewelry, pool alarms and more.

    As part of F15, Subcommittee F15.42 on Furniture Safety specifically focuses on helping identify, address, and reduce hazards associated with the use and performance of these products. This subcommittee brings together more than 125 stakeholders, including representatives of both large and small furniture manufacturers, retailers, testing labs, consumer advocates, end consumers and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

    F2057: Safety Specification for Clothing Storage Units

    F15.42 oversees F2057, Safety Specification for Clothing Storage Units, originally approved in 2000. An important part of F2057 is aimed at helping minimize the potential for tipovers of clothing storage units — chests, drawer chests, chests of drawers, dressers and bureaus. The voluntary standard was developed to address incident data reported to and analyzed by the CPSC.

    F2057 includes mandatory requirements and tests to help prevent tipovers.

    • A stability test forms the core of the F2057 standard, requiring that the unit not tip over when a specially configured 50-lb. weight is hung across a drawer.
    • Furniture must remain stable with all drawers opened to their maximum sliding length and doors opened to 90 degrees.
    • As of 2009, a required wall restraint must be included with each piece of furniture, providing an additional safety measure. The restraint must meet the requirements of another ASTM standard: F3096, Performance Specification for Tipover Restraint(s) Used with Clothing Storage Unit(s).
    • A permanent warning label must be attached to the unit in a conspicuous place, listing ways to avoid possible hazards, including: not placing TVs or other heavy objects on top, not allowing children to climb or hang on the furniture, and not opening more than drawer at a time. The most recent changes in 2017 include the addition of a hazard symbol on the warning label, and the addition of a section on label permanence.

    Subcommittee F15.42 continually monitors data and has updated the standard accordingly in 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2017. This data surveillance will continue.

    Notably, the subcommittee recently engaged many stakeholders in response to data indicating that TVs placed on top of clothing storage units contribute to serious injury and fatality. UL and the Consumer Electronics Association have become involved to look at this issue and how the standard might address it.

    Meetings such as the August 2015 AHRA forum (in which ASTM members participated) could help inform possible revisions to F2057.

    For more information about Committee F15, including upcoming meetings and becoming an ASTM member, contact Leonard Morrissey (tel +1.610.832.9719).

    For media inquiries, contact Nathan Osburn (+1.610.832.9603).