September 14, 2023
Adapting to the STURDY Act: Ohio Builders Lead the Way
Ohio’s Hardwood Furniture Guild Members are Adapting to the STURDY Act
The furniture industry is always growing and changing. This year, American furniture retailers and manufacturers were challenged by the STURDY Act that went into effect September 1, 2023. It is a federal law that introduced new safety standards for bedroom furniture. This legislation prompted nationwide retail stores to remove non-compliant floor models and replace them with tested and certified alternatives. For manufacturers, these new requirements disrupted their product lines. Fortunately, the builders of the Ohio Hardwood Furniture Guild faced comparatively fewer issues. With their advantage, these furniture manufacturers have been successfully paving the way for safe, certified heirloom-quality furniture.
How the STURDY Act Challenged Builders
The Sturdy Act stands for Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth. As the name suggests, this act was set in motion to lessen the child injury and death rates caused by bedroom clothing storage units. It laid out requirements that would ultimately make bedroom furniture safe and tip-over resistant. Each model must pass three levels of testing in order to be compliant with the act. To learn more, you can read the full STURDY Act on the Federal Register and refer to a summary provided by VIZTECH Furniture.
Many manufacturers were simply at a disadvantage by the designs of their furniture. The mass-market industry often uses lightweight, lower-quality materials to offer cheaper and faster furniture to consumers. While the price may feel beneficial to the wallet, the safety hazards have become clearer through the years. Cheaply made furniture is disproportionately weighted when filled with clothing. As drawers are opened, the weight of a child can easily cause the unit to tip over.
For many companies to pass safety testing, they needed to make drastic changes, including discontinuing a wide variety of their products. This is not the case for many of the hardwood furniture companies of Ohio, though.
OHFG Members Are Leading the Way
When news of the STURDY Act’s passing came into the nation, the Ohio Hardwood Furniture Guild wanted to get their members ahead. The guild held a meeting on June 28, 2023, in Charm, Ohio. 130 manufacturers gathered together that morning to hear the guild’s Executive Director, Kendrick Mullet, educate them on the STURDY Act.
His presentation covered every aspect of the STURDY Act regulation, as well as the testing, labeling, and certificate requirements. Mullet showed examples of the testing process, using both interlock drawer systems and counterweights.
Mullet noted that “our furniture is going to be better quality for a better value as large manufacturers adjust to these rules,” Mullet stated. “…I believe retailers and buyers are going to seek out American-made products that are well-built (and) meet the new requirements…and this should be looked at as an opportunity for growth…”
In closing, Mullet encouraged the OHFG members by saying, “I have unwavering belief that the STURDY Act presents a great opportunity for us as small batch manufacturers. We are already building durable products that are heavy-duty, therefore compliance will be easier and more cost-effective.”
Since that meeting, many of the OHFG members have had to make very few changes to their existing products. In fact, many passed the tests very quickly with the simple additions of interlocks and counterweights. It’s safe to say that quality hardwood furniture continues to stand the test of time, with many Ohio manufacturers, especially in Amish communities, successfully transitioning to become STURDY Act compliant.
If you’re looking to find Ohio furniture builders who have tested and certified their products, please visit our Builders Page.
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