FIRA - Calling all manufacturers of rise/recliner chairs!
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Calling all manufacturers of rise/recliner chairs!

Few manufacturers of rise and recline chairs can have failed to hear of the fatal accident in 2000 when an eight year old boy who became caught in the mechanism of a rise/recline chair.

Following this, and in the absence of any European Safety Standard for this type of product, a decision was made to produce a British Standard to try to improve the safety of this type of product. Earlier this year, two standards covering these products were published, BS 8474: 2006 Furniture – Chairs with electrically operated support surfaces – requirements and BS 8480: 2006 Medical Devices - Chairs with electrically operated support surfaces – requirements. These standards have been produced in tandem and are designed to be read together to cover all types of application for these types of chair.

BS 8474 is designed to cover the strength, durability and stability of electrically operated reclining chairs, and rise/recliners for domestic and non-domestic applications. BS 8480 on the other hand, is designed to assist manufacturers of chairs that would be considered medical devices to meet the requirements of the medical Devices Directive. FIRA’s experts in Stevenage are urging all manufacturers who have not yet caught up with the new standards to do so fast.

Manufacturers should remember that it is easily to fall foul of the medicaMHRA Logol devices directive, as although a manufacturer may not class his product as a medical device, if the sales person, or sales/marketing literature, promises any health benefits then the item could be classed as a medical device and require CE marking/registering with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).

For BS8474, the things that need to be tested are strength, durability and stability, but distilling the safety requirements down, the standard effectively says that the mechanisms must either be guarded (say with a concertina shield or similar) to prevent anybody around the chair (adult, child or pet) gaining access to the dangerous mechanisms. Alternatively the chair must have sensors that will prevent movement of the chair if something or somebody is in the way of the mechanism. The standard offers significant safety benefits and may have prevented the earlier fatality, but it does also mean that the majority of recliners and rise/recliners will fail to meet the requirements of the standard. There are other things to be aware of too where electrical components are used. For more information on the subject and testing of these items contact 01438 77700 or email