Unsafe furnishings should be illegal

Furniture industry body the Australasian Furnishing Association has upped its campaign for greater regulation of unsafe furniture following the release of new data from the ACCC.

The regulatory body estimates the annual cost of injury and death caused by unsafe consumer products, including furnishings, is at least $5 billion.

There are around 780 deaths and around 52,000 injuries per year from consumer products that many Australians have in their homes, including children’s deaths caused by suffocation in cots and beds.

Australasian Furnishing Association CEO, Patrizia Torelli supports the ACCC recommendation for a law requiring all goods sold in Australia to be safe.

“The Association receives more than 30 calls per month from consumers complaining about ‘dodgy’ furniture products and people are frequently surprised to learn that it is not illegal to sell unsafe goods in Australia.

“Laws banning the sale of unsafe products would not only save lives, but also create a level playing field for firms who do the right thing and take their safety responsibilities seriously.”

The ACCC’s 2019 Product Safety Priorities included preventing injury and death to infants caused by unsafe sleeping products and improving the safety of products that are sold online.

An estimated 50 people receive hospital treatment for injuries caused by toppling furniture and televisions each week.

Toppling has caused the death of at least 22 Australian children under the age of nine in the last 15 years. Children under three years of age are at the greatest risk.

In March this year, the ACCC called on the Government to adopt a General Safety Provision obliging companies to take reasonable steps to avoid supplying unsafe goods.

The AFA actively supports Members’ safety programs and promotes action across the industry to improve furniture safety. It reminds consumers to look for a current AFA Member logo when purchasing furniture.

Bunk beds and bean bags topped the list of unsafe furnishing products reported in 2018 and eBay was prominent amongst the sellers under scrutiny.

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