Why retailers need to comply with Aussie furniture standards

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has been ordered to pay US$50 million in compensation to three US families whose toddlers were killed by the retailer’s dressers when they tipped over on top of the kids.

However, according to Australian Furniture Association (AFA) CEO, Patrizia Torelli, there is more to the story than just the payout.

“The furnishing industry is equally concerned about the safety of the community, especially our most vulnerable―children―and has been working for some years now to educate the community about the importance of anchoring furniture,” she says. 

The AFA has been pushing for stronger legislation. “The AFA is aware of several similar tragic incidents in recent years and is working closely with a number of compliance organisations and government to help protect consumers and prevent more injuries or deaths.

“Our industry is constantly working to improve to mitigate these risks and help educate the wider community on simple ways to avert these tragedies,” explains Torelli.

She adds that we need to raise consumer awareness of how to buy and use furniture safely, both in the home and the workplace.

“Australia has the best standards for Australian consumers yet we are constantly sold on standards that are not compliant with Australian consumer expectations.

“Furniture designers, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers have a responsibility to consumers and should adhere to appropriate standards to reduce the danger of unstable furniture.”

AFA’s top tips to buy safe

* Only buy from reputable and knowledgeable suppliers and retailers

* Look for the Australian Furniture Association mark

* Check that furniture meets Australian standards not other international standards

* Do not buy furniture designed for domestic use for commercial purposes and visa a versa

* Look for furniture that comes with safety information or equipment for anchoring to walls

By Marion Gerritsen