For more than 50 years, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) has been the North American trade association for manufacturers and suppliers of hard covering window treatments. Its overriding goal has been to work toward shaping and unifying the U.S. window coverings industry, with an emphasis on both product innovation and safety.
WHAT CHANGED AND WHAT STAYED THE SAMESome of the new additions published in the 2002 revision of the American National Standard for safety of corded window covering products (ANSI/WCMA A100.1-2002) include:
• If a product contains an accessible inner cord, the cord is restricted from forming a loop larger than 12 inches in circumference.
• Stop devices for accessible inner-cord products must meet specific pull-force strengths.
• Warning labels are to be written in both English and Spanish.
• Any exterior component of the blind that can be touched or ingested by young children must be produced with no more than 0.02 percent lead per weight per window covering.
All key provisions of the original standard remain in place. Manufacturers and fabricators need to ensure that any window covering that incorporates an operational cord or chain bead loop meets the following safety requirements:
• A passive device to eliminate or separate any cord loop or chain bead loop.
• A permanently attached passive device to eliminate an exposed cord or bead loop while a product is not being operated.
• A passive tension device to attach to the floor or wall that will cause the cord or bead loop to remain taut and limit exposure to the cords.
• A means of minimizing the exposed loop on products requiring an operational cord-stop function (such as Roman shades) to less than three inches from the top of the headrail when the product is in the lowered position.
Toward that end, the WCMA published revised standard guidelines this year in accordance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) procedures.
Founded in 1918 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., ANSI is a highly esteemed, private non-profit organization that administers and coordinates voluntary standardization and conformity assessment for a diverse array of industries.
This revised standard (ANSI/WCMA A100.1-2002) is applicable to interior drapery hardware and window covering products that incorporate bead chains, cords or any type of flexible looped device in their operation. And its objective is to provide requirements for covered products that reduce the possibility of injury to young children from the bead chain, cord or any type of flexible loop device used to operate these products.
The original standard for the safety of corded window covering products was created by WCMA in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1996. The standard was developed using the ANSI canvass method, and such standards are opened for revision every five years. As anticipated in last year’s D&WC safety issue (see D&WC, December 2001, page 56), this revised standard was approved by ANSI on August 29, 2002 (see D&WC, November 2002, page 14).
Carolynn Jennings, executive director of the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, said of the creation process for the standard, “It was the object of careful re-examination by representatives of the window coverings industry, safety experts, government regulators, manufacturing consultants and consumer advocates seeking to update and improve upon its scope and provisions.”
While maintaining strict adherence to safety guidelines developed in the first version, this revision addresses a number of additional consumer concerns.
Safety requirements for products with accessible inner cords are included. These products are restricted from forming a loop larger than 12 inches in circumference. In addition, stop devices for accessible inner-cord products must meet specific pull-force strengths.
There have been several modifications to requirements for warning labels and hangtags to help consumers better understand and take heed of cord-safety precautions. It will be important to note that warning labels now must be written in both English and Spanish.
Additionally, the revision codifies lead content concerns. The standard states that any exterior component of the blind that can be touched or ingested by young children must be produced with no more than 0.02 percent lead per weight per window covering. (See the synopsis of basic safety requirements outlined in the standard.)
As in the original standard, the revision includes an appendix that provides descriptions and definitions of the products listed, as well as discussions of functions for the various types of products that belong in the category of corded window covering products.
There also is an appendix that provides instructions for testing, allowing manufacturers to determine the safety and compliance of their own products.
These appendices have been designed to aid manufacturers in their compliance with this standard.
HOT OFF THE PRESS
This revised standard is evidence of WCMA’s commitment to continually pursue the development of new devices, technologies and designs that will ensure product safety and inspire consumer confidence.
“WCMA firmly believes that nationally recognized industry standards represent the most effective method for introducing advanced devices and designs that can enhance the safety of window covering products,” said Joseph Jankoski, WCMA president.
WCMA urges manufacturers to obtain a copy of the revised standard. Copies are $9 each for WCMA members and $18 each for non-members. To order, send a check made payable to WCMA at Window Covering Manufacturers Association, 355 Lexington Ave., Suite 1700, New York, NY, 10017.