As furniture tip-over legislation looms, 3 companies say how they’re preparing

Vaughan-Bassett is one company preparing for STURDY.

HIGH POINT – “It’s the biggest disruption in my lifetime.”

These are the words of Doug Bassett, president of Vaughan-Bassett, a leading manufacturer of wooden adult bedroom furniture in the United States. He’s talking about the STURDY Act, a major bill aimed at preventing furniture from tipping over onto children. STURDY is currently waiting on action by the House of Representatives, having passed in the Senate unanimously late September.

“We’re confident we will be prepared for it, as we have been meeting the voluntary standards,” he said. “But it’s going to be a disruption for the industry.”

As it stands, the Senate version of STURDY would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to adopt an updated voluntary standard – the ASTM F-2057 – as the federal consumer product safety rule.

But it gets more complicated. The CPSC issued its own standard late last month. This standard is more complex than STURDY, requiring furniture items to meet two prescribed tests for stability. The American Home Furnishings Alliance, a group of more than 200 prominent furniture manufacturers and importers, called the CPSC’s rule unambiguous and unenforceable.

STURDY, which represents less of a hurdle for manufacturers already familiar with the voluntary standard, should supersede the CPSC rule if it’s cleared in the House. But the situation remains unclear.

Regardless of which one wins out, furniture suppliers and manufacturers will have to prepare.

One thing Vaughan-Bassett is doing is modifying the drawers of its dressers and chests to not come all the way out. “We don’t know for sure if that will help us meet the requirement, but we believe it will,” said Bassett.

Universal Furniture, an importer of bedroom, dining, occasional and upholstered furniture, has added a drawer lock mechanism to its new Newstalgia furniture line. The mechanism prevents more than one drawer from opening at once, per column of drawers.

“This will put us ahead of the curve,” said Shannon Lookabill, director of product development. “Other companies will opt to take weight out of their drawers. Not us.”

Fellow importer BDI is opting for a similar solution. The company unveiled its first bedroom collection at the recent High Point Market. The Linq collection features the same drawer lock mechanism as Universal.

BDI's Linq collection

BDI’s new Linq bedroom set

Dave Adams, the company’s director of marketing, believes the line will be STURDY ready “right out of the gate.”

“We will be ahead of the game on this,” he said.

Domestic manufacturer Copeland Furniture said the company is looking at three different options to meet the requirements.

“It’s a steep challenge to meet STURDY,” said Ben Copeland, director of sales and marketing. “We will do whatever we need to do to meet it.”

Read more about the complexities of STURDY and the new CPSC standard here.

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As furniture tip-over legislation looms, 3 companies say how they’re preparing