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To account for the risks and hazards of the present, the government claims that "important changes" are needed. In light of this, the Office for Product Safety and Standards and the Department for Business and Trade have started a consultation process to get input from a variety of stakeholders on the suggested "new approach" to the fire safety of domestic upholstered furniture.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations of 1988 were implemented to safeguard consumers from harm and death brought on by highly flammable upholstered furniture. A consultation on the fire safety of domestic upholstered furniture will begin on August 6, 2023.
According to the Government, “important changes” are required to take account of current hazards and risks. That being so, the Department for Business and Trade and the Office for Product Safety and Standards have launched a consultation process to seek views from a wide range of stakeholders on the proposed “new approach” to the fire safety of domestic upholstered furniture.
Furniture Fire Safety Regulations In particular, the consultation’s focus is trained on the scope of the regulations, the essential safety requirements, the conformity assessment procedure, the labelling requirements, the technical file requirements, the proposed timescales for the implementation of and transition to the new regulations, and measures designed to both encourage and enable a reduction in the use of chemical flame retardants.
This new strategy is based on safety outcomes that are supported by a set of fundamental safety standards that all goods covered by the regulations must satisfy in order to be sold.
Additionally, it will "maintain and improve" fire safety for customers by "better representing the safety of the product" as it appears in their homes, while also facilitating manufacturing innovation and a decrease in the use of chemical flame retardants.
The consultation process consists of the following: * A 49-page consultation document outlining the justification for the new strategy and the suggestions a 28-page draught of regulations that illustrate the new strategy in legislative form and a 40-page impact assessment outlining the estimated costs and benefits of the new approach based on independent research.
The Office for Product Safety and Standards' 113-page independent research report is among the supporting documentation for the consultation. The document, titled "Fire Risks of Upholstered Products," was released on August 1 and was the result of research done by scientists at the Oakdene Hollins consultancy, the Universities of Birmingham, Central Lancashire, and Whaley Research.
It provides an overview of the most important data that can be used to guide policy recommendations for the revision of the 1988 Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations. The report primarily provides data on fire statistics, fire-retardant tactics, the chemical flame retardants currently used to make furniture compliant with regulations, and the potential contribution of chemical flame retardants derived from furniture to the high background levels of those compounds found in UK indoor environments.
The report also outlines the methodology used to determine whether specific upholstered products or articles pose a serious fire risk. This methodology is used to conduct a systematic review of products, identifying all hazards and risks related to the fire safety of furniture and evaluating risk factors and weighting criteria for different product types that will be taken into account when formulating policy proposals.
Response from the NFCC Responding to the consultation announcement, the National Fire Chiefs Council stated: “We are supportive of the draft essential safety requirements as they seek to maintain and improve fire safety. This is demonstrated through the focus on stopping and delaying ignition to aid escape in the event of a fire.”
The published consultation will remain formally open for a 12-week period, closing at midnight on October 24.
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30 November 2023
05 September 2023