Furniture manufacturers who want to sell
their products in the US and Europe (and worldwide) need to better understand
the differing regulatory landscapes:
USA: Voluntary standards and some legal limits
While US standards are voluntary, furniture manufacturers must still ensure their products comply with the Consumer Product Safety Act and be safe under reasonable, foreseeable use. According to the standard, tip-over restraints used on the product have to fulfill ASTM F3096, and a warning label (explaining how to limit the risk of instability) must be applied. However, the stability requirements only account for the behavior of children and not adults – the product is not tested for the possibility of adults resting on it. Some reports also show the impact of the floor surface on a product’s stability. For example, a product placed on carpet can be more unstable than one installed on a hard floor.
EU: A newly revised standard with voluntary compliance
The European Committee for Standardization
(CEN) published EN14749:2016 in relation to furniture, in 2016. This not only reinforces
existing requirements for the stability of storage furniture, it also adds some
tests specifically for TV furniture. EN 16122:2012 is now the reference point
for the test methods.
The European standard now includes stability tests representing six different uses of the product: doors and drawers open or closed; product loaded and unloaded; force applied vertically on the top, on drawers and doors. In addition, this new version of the standard includes requirements about the information provided within the assembly instructions.
This means that, so long as the assembly instructions are clear and include a warning, attaching the furniture to the wall can be an option to further ensure stability – even if the stability tests that have taken place are inconclusive. What’s more, there is still no guarantee that the consumer will attach the product to the wall properly and safely.
Even though the application of this
standard is voluntary, manufacturers must ensure that their products comply
with the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) 2001/95/EC. This applies in
the absence of specific European regulations regarding the safety of certain
Our advice to furniture manufacturers is to
take into account the potential behavior of all consumers when following
standard requirements. In addition, we recommend that if the furniture can be
fixed to the wall, all of the relevant information is available at the point of
sale and the potential hazard is clearly shown.
We also suggest that manufacturers test baby-changing units once they have been re-configured for use as a chest of drawers.
Why Choose SGS?
SGS is the world’s leading inspection,
verification, testing and certification company, recognized globally as the
benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 85,000 employees, we
operate a network of more than 1,800 offices and laboratories around the world.
We have testing capabilities for storage furniture and kitchen furniture in:
- Asia: China (Shunde, Shanghai, Anji, Xiamen), Hong Kong, Taiwan (Taipei)
- Europe: France (Aix en Provence), Germany (Taunusstein)
- Americas: USA (New Jersey, Fairfield)
We can test furniture designed for the juvenile market in:
- Asia: China (Guangzhou, Shanghai), Taiwan (Taipei), Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh)
- Europe: France (Aix en Provence), UK (Bradford)
- Americas: USA (New Jersey, Fairfield), Brazil (Barueri)
When testing storage units such as
wardrobes and cabinets, SGS considers criteria including: the physical
characteristics (dimensions and weight), the construction quality (potential
for finger entrapment, cuts and so on), performance (the strength of shelves,
doors, wall mounts and more), and other factors such as finishing or chemicals.
We perform these tests in accordance with the relevant standards appropriate to the destination market(s).
ASTM 2057 is the only standard that specifies methods for testing clothing storage furniture. A first basic test is conducted on the item unloaded, to ensure it does not fall or tip over when all of its doors and drawers are opened. For the second test, the furniture is loaded with a 23 kg weight (that represents a five year-old child) at different positions on drawers and/or doors.
For more information about SGS services for the furniture industry, please contact your local SGS sales representative or contact our global team.
Global Furniture Expert
t: +33 6 20 09 86 14
Global Juvenile Products Expert
t +33 4 42 61 64 57
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 85,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,800 offices and laboratories around the world.