Vol. 1333 | 09 Dec 2022

On Nov 25, 2022, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published in the Federal Register the final rule for clothing storage units (CSUs) to address the risks of death and injury, particularly for children, associated with clothing storage units tipping over.

The final rule will create a new consumer product safety standard for the CSUs in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) by adding a new part, 16 CFR 1261. This new section will contain minimum stability and labeling (including hangtag) requirements for the CSUs. The final rule will also require manufacturers of children’s CSUs to test to the 16 CFR 1261 requirements at a CPSC-accepted third-party laboratory for Certification per rule 16 CFR 1110.

Exemption: The final rule exempts clothes lockers and portable storage closets from these requirements.

The final rule will go into effect on May 24, 2023, and apply to the CSUs manufactured after that date. The final rule also has anti-stockpiling provisions to prevent manufacturers from circumventing the requirements.

A Clothing storage unit is defined in the rule as a consumer product that is a freestanding furniture item, with drawer(s) and/or door(s), that may be reasonably expected to be used for storing clothing, that is designed to be configured to greater than or equal to 27 inches in height, has a mass greater than or equal to 57 pounds with all extendable elements filled with at least 8.5 pounds/cubic foot times their functional volume (cubic feet), has a total functional volume of the closed storage greater than 1.3 cubic feet, and has a total functional volume of the closed storage greater than the sum of the total functional volume of the open storage and the total volume of the open space. Common names for clothing storage units include, but are not limited to: chests, bureaus, dressers, armoires, wardrobes, chests of drawers, drawer chests, chifforobes, and door chests. Whether a product is a clothing storage unit depends on whether it meets this definition. Some products that, depending on their design, may not meet the criteria in this definition and, therefore, may not be considered clothing storage units are: shelving units, office furniture, dining room furniture, laundry hampers, built-in closets, and single-compartment closed rigid boxes (storage chests).

The following are key requirements of 16 CFR 1261:

  • Requirements if CSU have interlocks:
    • Interlocks must be pre-installed and automatically engage as part of normal use.
    • Because the test configuration differs depending on the presence and effectiveness of interlocks, the rule requires testing the interlocks before conducting the stability testing.
    • Horizontal pull force is applied to evaluate the integrity of the interlock system. If any interlocked door, drawer, or pull-out shelf opens without retracting the originally open element, or the interlock is damaged or does not function as intended during this testing, then the interlock is disabled or bypassed for stability testing.
  • Stability Requirements:
    • Procedures to determine the tip-over moment and the threshold moment of a CSU when tested on a hard, level and flat test surface. The rule requires that the tip-over moment exceeds the threshold moment.
    • To simulate the use of carpet, which was found to have a significant impact on CSU stability, the final rule requires the use of a 0.43 inch-thick test block that on average tilted the CSU forward at an average angle of 1.5 degrees.
    • Final rule has two test methods, Test Method 1 and Test Method 2.
      • Test Method 1 should be used for CSU with extendable elements that extend at least 6 inches from the fulcrum. To reduce variability, Test Method 1 must be conducted using weights.
      • Test Method 2 should only be used when Test Method 1 does not apply.
  • Marking and Labeling Requirements:
    The final rule includes requirements for a warning label. The warning label requirements address the label's size, content, symbols, and format. The warning statements address the CSU tip-over hazard and how to avoid it. They indicate that children have died from furniture tipping over and direct consumers on how to reduce the risk of tip-overs by securing furniture to the wall; not allowing children to stand, climb, or hang on units; not defeating interlock systems (if the unit has them); placing heavier items in lower drawers, and not putting a television on CSUs (when the manufacturer indicates they are not designed for that purpose). The format, font, font size, and color requirements incorporate by reference the provisions in ASTM F2057-19. 
    • Final rule includes requirements for the location of the warning label, addressing placement in drawers or doors, and the height of the label in the unit. It requires the warning label to be legible and attached after testing the methods specified in ASTM F2057-19.
    • The final rule explicitly states that the content of the warning label must not be modified or amended except as specifically permitted in the rule.

      Example Warning Labels

    • The mark or label must include the name and address of the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer; the model number; the month and year of manufacture; and state that the product complies with the final rule.
    • The mark or label must be visible from the back of the unit when fully assembled and must be legible and attached after it is tested using the methods specified in ASTM F2057-19.
  • Performance and technical data by labeling (Hangtags) requirements:
    The final rule has requirements for providing performance and technical data related to performance and safety to consumers at the time of original purchase and to the first purchaser of the CSU in the form of a hang tag.
    • The hang tag provides a stability rating, displayed on a scale of 1 to “2 or more,” based on the ratio of the tip-over moment to the minimally allowed tip-over moment.
      The rule includes size, content, icon, and format requirements for the hang tag. The hang tag must be attached to the CSU and visible to a person standing in front of the unit.
    • The hang tag must appear on the product and the immediate container of the product in which the product is generally offered for sale at retail; for RTA furniture, the hang tag must appear on the main panel of consumer-level packaging; that any units shipped directly to consumers contain the hang tag on the immediate container of the product; and that the hang tag information is provided on manufacturers' and importers' online sales interfaces from which the CSU may be purchased.

      The following is an illustration of a hangtag for a CSU with a tip rating of 1.5

  • Stockpiling Prohibition:
    • The final rule prohibits manufacturers and importers of CSUs from manufacturing or importing CSUs that do not comply with the requirements of the rule in any 1-month period between Nov 25, 2022, and May 24, 2023, at a rate that is greater than 105 percent of the rate at which they manufactured or imported CSUs during the base period for the manufacturer. The rule defines the base period as the calendar month with the median manufacturing or import volume within the last 13 months immediately preceding Nov 2022.

The final rule can be viewed at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-11-25/pdf/2022-24587.pdf

For questions, please contact Dr. Pratik Ichhaporia (pratik.ichhaporia@intertek.com, +1 847 212 8273) or Carl Tso (carl.tso@intertek.com, +852 37606364).


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