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Your regular update for technical and industry information

Your regular update for technical and industry information

Australia: ACCC publishes consultation paper on furniture toppling

MAY 2022 - HARDLINES

On 13 May 2022, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) published the furniture toppling consultation paper1 on the assessment of regulatory options.

The proposed regulatory options in this consultation paper will apply to freestanding storage furniture such as chests of drawers, cabinets and wardrobes with a height greater than 500mm, bookshelves and bookcases with a height over 600mm, and entertainment units of all heights.

Currently, there is no mandatory safety standard or information standard specifically relating to toppling furniture in Australia. In the assessment, the following regulatory options are being considered and assessed:

  1. Status quo, no change 
  2. A mandatory safety standard that sets out warning labelling and safety information requirements and requires the provision of an anchoring device 
  3. An information standard that sets out warning labelling and safety information requirements to be provided with the product and at the point of sale online and in-store 
  4. A mandatory safety standard that sets out warning labelling, safety information and stability requirements, and the provision of an anchoring device; or
  5. A mandatory safety standard and a mandatory information standard. This would take the form of either:
  • a combination of options 2 and 4, or
  • a combination of options 3 and 4.

The ACCC’s preliminary view is that a combination of options 3 and 4 (i.e., option 5(b)) will likely prevent more deaths and severe injuries than the other options because it ensures the furniture will be more stable by design and anchoring, elevate consumer awareness of the risks to enable informed purchasing decisions and encourage safe use of products.

About the transition period, the Commission is considering:

  • any new mandatory information standard to address issues associated with toppling furniture shall be subject to a 6-month transition period;
  • any new mandatory safety standard shall be subject to a 12-month transition period from the date of commencement; and
  • to conduct a formal review on the operation of the new mandatory safety and/or information standard after 5 years from the date of commencement.

The ACCC is currently seeking submissions from the industry on the proposed policy options. Submissions can be performed here2 and are due by 11.59 pm 13 June 2022.

Following the assessment of responses to this consultation paper, the Commission will develop a final recommendation to the Minister in 2022.

More details can be found in the consultation paper.

 

 

[1]  ACCC furniture toppling consultation paper

[2]  Submission page

 

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