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ASTM International published its updated version of ASTM F2057 “Standard Safety Specification for Clothing Storage Units” on October 27, 2017. The updated standard, ASTM F2057 – 17, includes additional labeling requirements. These include:

  • Updated warning label must contain a “hazard symbol” pictorial of a child climbing a clothing storage item outlined in a slashed circle
  • Evaluation of warning label permanency

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been engaged in an awareness campaign relating to the dangers of children climbing storage furniture. The inclusion of the pictorial on the warning label is the latest facet of this campaign.

The warning label should be deemed permanent, based on its construction. The criteria for assuming permanence are different for paper and non-paper warning labels:

  • Paper warning labels - deemed permanent if, “during an attempt to remove it without the aid of tools or solvents, it cannot be removed, it tears into pieces upon removal, or such action damages the surface to which it is attached”
  • Non-paper warning labels - deemed permanent, “if during an attempt to remove it without the aid of tools or solvents, it cannot be removed or such action damages the surface to which it is attached”

Warning labels that are “applied directly onto the surface of the product” will be required to undergo the Test Method B tape adhesion test detailed in ASTM D3359 - Standard Test Methods for Rating Adhesion by Tape Test. The test involves scoring a lattice pattern with either six or eleven cuts in each direction through the film to the substrate. Pressure-sensitive tape is then applied over the lattice pattern and removed. The warning label is then inspected to ensure adherence legibility. This warning label permeance test is common among ASTM juvenile product safety standards.

The update to ASTM F2057 also includes clarification on the standard’s intent in the introduction, stating, “this specification does not address hazards created by blatant misuse of a product, including, but not limited to, use of the product in a manner that is neither intended by the manufacturer nor reasonably foreseeable”.

The new version of ASTM F2057 has not updated the stability evaluation, although this may change in future editions following pressure from the CPSC to increase its severity and/or lower the 30” height cut off. The requirement for the mandatory inclusion of ASTM F3096 “Standard Performance Specification for Tip-over Restraint(s) Used with Clothing Storage Unit(s)” compliant tip-over restraints with the product remain unchanged as well.

ASTM F2057 was originally established in 2000 as a voluntary standard aimed at reducing the rate of fatal incidents associated with the tip-over of free-standing clothing storage items 30 inches and taller. It defines a clothing storage item as, “a furniture item intended for the storage of clothing typical of bedroom furniture”, and specifically mentions chests, door chests, and dressers. Furniture items not covered by the standard include shelving units (e.g. bookcases and entertainment units), office furniture, dining room furniture, jewelry armoires, under-bed drawer storage units, and built-in units intended to be permanently attached to the building.

While it is not a mandatory safety standard, the CPSC does strongly recommend adherence to ASTM F2057 and it has been referenced in recent high-profile recalls for unstable furniture.

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Matthew McGarrity

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Email: crs.media@sgs.com

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