New York State Assembly Approves 'Harper’s Law' to Improve Safety in Clothing Storage Units

Top Quote New York State Assembly passed law requiring retailers to only sell clothing storage units that comply with ASTM F2057. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) July 25, 2019 - The New York State Assembly has passed 'Harper’s Law', a law requiring retailers to only sell clothing storage units that comply with industry recognized standard ASTM F2057. Passed on May 30. 2019, ‘Harper’s Law’ is named after Harper Fried, a three-year-old who died in 2016 as a result of a clothing storage unit tip-over incident.

    ASTM F2057 “Standard Safety Specification for Clothing Storage Units” is a voluntary US standard, originally published in 2000. It aims to reduce the rate of fatal incidents associated with the tipping-over of free-standing clothing storage items.

    The law defines clothing storage units as, “a furniture item intended for the storage of clothing typical of bedroom furniture”. It specifically mentions chests, door chests, and dressers, and includes units of 27 inches height or greater because these are expected to be included in ASTM F2057-17, to be updated later this year. This will lower the current standard’s applicable unit height from 30 inches to 27 inches and greater.

    The standard does not include:
    • Shelving units (e.g. bookcases and entertainment units)
    • Office furniture
    • Dining room furniture
    • Jewelry armoires
    • Under-bed drawer storage units
    • Built-in units intended to be permanently attached to the building

    The standard includes two stability evaluation tests:
    • Stability unloaded: the unit must remain stable when all of its drawers are open and all doors open to 90 degrees
    • Stability loaded: the unit must remain stable when 50 pounds of weight are applied to the front edge of each individually opened drawer and door

    ASTM F2057 also requires:
    • Unit must be sold with tip-over restraints that adhere to ASTM F3096 “Standard Performance Specification for Tipover Restraint(s) Used with Clothing Storage Unit(s)”
    • Unit must include permanent warning labels regarding the tip-over risks, attached in conspicuous locations that are visible when the product is in use

    Non-ASTM F2057 compliant units require permanent warning labels and must be sold with a tip-over restraint.

    New York’s ‘Harper’s Law’ was partially created to address the lack of applicable Federal regulations. Stakeholders should be aware, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is currently reviewing a mandatory requirement. In the interim, the CPSC is strongly urging compliance with ASTM F2057 and has made it clear to manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers that non-adherence will mean storage units are considered ‘defective’. If the product is investigated and found to be hazardous, corrective action could be required.

    When/if ‘Harper’s Law’ is signed into law by the New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, retailers will be required to comply within 90 days. Stakeholders should also be aware that, if the law is signed but the expected reduction in ASTM F2057’s applicable height is not approved, New York State will still require applicability to 27 inches and higher.

    Signing ‘Harper’s Law’ would make New York the first and only state to mandate such a requirement.

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