ACCC addresses furniture safety concerns

Toppling furniture has killed at least 28 people in Australia since 2000 and causes close to 20 injuries every week.

ACCC is seeking to reduce the dangers with a range of proposed regulatory options aimed at improving product design and increasing wall-fitted anchoring and consumer education. There is currently no mandatory safety standard or information standard specifically relating to toppling furniture in Australia.

“We have considered the available evidence and safety concerns in proposing a range of regulatory options and encourage stakeholders to make their submission before we make a final recommendation to the government,” ACCC deputy chair, Delia Rickard, says.

“We would like to hear from the furniture industry,including manufacturers, importers and retailers, as well as consumer safety advocates, consumer testing facilities and medical professionals about how to reduce the dangers from heavy furniture items falling on people, especially the young and frail.”

The most common furniture involved in accidents includes chests of drawers, wardrobes, bookcases, cabinets and entertainment units.

“Toppling furniture accidents are estimated to cause about 900 injuries requiring medical attention every year with a particular impact on young children, but which can also injure the elderly,” Rickard adds.

“These accidents can happen very quickly and the risks increase when there is an uneven distribution of stored items or when children climb on furniture.

“Parents and carers are reminded to check their home for toppling hazards and to anchor any tall or unstable furniture.”