Vaughan-Bassett’s new home furnishings collection with Ben and Erin Napier of HGTV’s “Home Town” series will carry the industry’s new UL Stability Verified Mark. The licensed collections of bedroom and dining room furnishings were unveiled this week at the High Point Market and will be available in retail stores in early 2019.
“The furniture industry has had a voluntary standard for furniture stability since 2000,” says Andy Counts, CEO of the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA). “But shoppers can’t easily distinguish between furniture that has been designed and tested to the stability standard and that which has not.”
Indeed, dozens of children are injured every year when a chest or dresser tumbles over on top of them. To reduce tip-over incidents and help consumers more easily identify furniture built for stability when shopping both in-store and online, AHFA partnered with UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety science company, to create the Stability Verified program and the UL Stability Verified Mark. The Mark consists of the words “PRODUCT STABILITY VERIFIED” along with the UL logo, a unique identification number assigned to the participating company, and the UL Verify web address, https://verify.ul.com.
Found on a hangtag, on packaging or on a label adhered to the product itself, the Mark means a piece of furniture has met all stability requirements within the industry’s voluntary standard for bedroom storage furniture. The safety standard specifically targets bedroom storage furniture because it is involved in the majority of furniture tip-over accidents. Consumers can search the UL Verify website by manufacturer name or by the manufacturer’s identification number to confirm that the product meets the stability requirements of the industry’s safety standard.
“Ultimately, we hope this will help consumers choose compliant furniture over non-compliant furniture, and this will help result in fewer serious tip-over accidents,” Counts says.
“As the largest manufacturer of wooden residential furniture in the United States, Vaughan-Bassett has been committed to meeting the voluntary stability standard for bedroom furniture since the standard’s adoption,” says Vaughan-Bassett President Doug Bassett. “The new Laurel Mercantile Home collections will be the first to receive the ‘Stability Verified’ Mark, and all of our other collections will follow.”
Four other furniture companies — Ashley Furniture, Hooker Furniture, Samson Marketing (including Universal, Legacy Classic, Legacy Classic Kids and Smartstuff brands) and Sauder Woodworking — served as pilots for the Stability Verified program and all four successfully completed the requirements last month according to AHFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Bill Perdue. In fact, some will have Stability Verified products available online or in retail stores as early as November.
With the program and all processes within it tested, program enrollment for AHFA member companies began October 1. In January 2019, UL will open enrollment to the industry. To participate in the UL Stability Verified program, a manufacturer must first have a UL inspector visit the company’s factory and confirm that the proper equipment, trained personnel, test methods and record-keeping all are in place to conduct the two stability tests required in the voluntary standard. Companies also must have a corrective action process in place for identifying, modifying and retesting any products that fail the stability tests. This assessment must be repeated each year. Second, UL reviews the company’s product test data to establish that the units are eligible to carry the Product Stability Verified Mark. All critical design components for the covered products are documented, and UL repeats stability testing on sample units at the factory to confirm test results. This product assessment also occurs on an annual basis.
UL has established a two-tiered annual fee for the program, with the first tier covering process verification and the second tier covering product verification at a single factory location. Additional factory locations can be added for an additional fee. AHFA members receive a discount on these program fees.
“UL’s verification program allows companies to differentiate their products in the marketplace by providing science-based confirmation of product claims,” says Michael O’Hara, Director of UL’s global furniture business. “The Stability Verified program endorsed by AHFA will help furniture consumers understand the meaning and significance of the voluntary furniture stability standard.”
An average of 68 children age five and under head to the emergency room every week with an injury caused by a chest or dresser that tipped over on them — usually when the child was attempting to climb it. Although more than 90 percent of these injuries are not serious, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that nine children under age five die each year from this type of accident. In about 30 percent of the incidents with injuries and more than half of those with fatalities, a television on top of the chest or dresser also fell.
“When parents are shopping for new furniture, choosing Stability Verified products is one important safety step, but Vaughan-Bassett advises all its customers to use furniture tip restraints — which we ship with all our bedroom storage furniture — to anchor any furniture in the home that might tip if pulled on or climbed on by a curious toddler,” says Bassett.
Data from companies participating in the UL Stability Verified program, including a list of all products eligible to carry the Product Stability Verified Mark, is accessible to consumers on UL’s “Verify” website, https://Verify.UL.com.