The Consumer Product Safety Commission yesterday significantly scaled down plans to establish mandatory industry wide safety standards for television sets.
The proposed safety standards had been in the works since 1974, when the CPSC had to subpoena accident data from reluctant manufacturers after they failed to produce the requested data for hearings that year.
According to commission sources, the industry then began to voluntarily set standards that have led to "a marked reduction" in the number of accidents.
Three of four major hazard areas cited initially were improved enough for the commission to drop plans for mandatory standards. They are: electric shock, picture tube implosion (tubes implode instead of explode because they contain a vacuum), and mechanical or exterior failings such as sharp edges.
The commission decided, however, to continue looking into standards relating to fire hazard in the sets.
"And the staff has been directed to monitor the voluntary standard efforts in the industry to see if they continue this way," said the CPSC's Bert Simson, who was project manager of the television probe,
Commissioner Lawrence Kushner surprised yesterday's commission meeting with a suggestion that the staff investigate the feasability of developing a test to measure the ability of a television cabinet to contain a fire that might start inside the set.