19 May 2024, 08:24
By Furniture News Feb 23, 2015

Flammability Regulation amendments pushed back

Following a meeting held at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) with the Minister, Jo Swinson MP, on the 9th February, BIS has confirmed that the proposed amendments to the UK Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations will not now be put to Parliament in April as originally planned.

At the meeting, which was attended by a broad range of stakeholders including FIRA, the vast majority of attendees urged the Minister to proceed with care and make sure that the background research is in place to ensure that any proposed changes would be effective and would not lower safety levels. In addition, the majority of the stakeholders urged the Minister to make any changes as part of a full revision of the regulations, rather than piecemeal changes.

The Minister is now considering the next steps – however, the news that the amendment has been delayed means that the earliest any change can be made is October 2015. FIRA will continue to keep industry abreast of any changes.

FIRA recently announced the launch of a new training course on flammability regulations for both contract and domestic furniture.

Aimed at furniture suppliers, manufacturers, importers, retail buyers and technologists, the course provides an overview of the UK Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations and guidance on how to interpret the regulations for a specific business or product. It will also cover standards for contract furniture; BS7177 for mattresses and divans and BS7176 for non-domestic seating.

“Since the BBC investigation at the beginning of the year into non-compliant products on sale in the UK, we have seen the industry take swift action. The course originally solely focussed on the UK’s flammability regulations, as they are extremely complex, and had proven to be very popular. We decided to extend the course to cover contract furniture as there are legal obligations under the GPSR and so this is also an area that can cause confusion. Knowing the questions to ask a supplier and how to identify potential issues will help to mitigate risk to your business and help build your due diligence. It is now suitable for delegates who work with both domestic and contract furniture,” says Tristine Hargreaves, FIRA’s standards and regulatory manager and flammability course trainer.

A variety of upholstered furniture products are affected by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended), BS7177 and BS7176, including sofas, chairs, upholstered bedsteads, headboards, bean bags, casual seating, cushions, mattresses, mattress toppers and divan bases.

Tristine continues: “Everyone has the responsibility of due diligence and you could be asked to demonstrate that a product is compliant. If a product is deemed to be non-compliant, this is illegal and could result in product withdrawal from sale, product recall or prosecution. By the end of the day delegates should be able to assess their products to see whether they are fully compliant and avoid unnecessary recall costs or fines.”

The flammability course looks at why the regulations were introduced, the different schedules, labelling, test reports, product assessments, traceability of materials and requirements for non-domestic seating, mattresses, toppers and divan bases. A training certificate will be issued upon completion of the course and training notes provided to assist with future product assessments. The course also includes a tour of the FIRA Flammability Test Laboratory.

The courses will be held at FIRA's headquarters in Stevenage on Thursday 26th March and Wednesday 29th April 2015. Prices for the course are £250+VAT for FIRA members and £400+VAT for non-members – book online at www.fira.co.uk/training.

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