FIRA and Trading Standards confirm flammability requirements for office work chairs used in a domestic environment
The shift in home working seen over the last 14 months was the basis for the latest guidance from the Furniture Industry Research Association, who worked with Trading Standards on flammability guidance for office chairs being used in a domestic environment. Entitled ‘Guidance for the contract furniture industry: Fire safety of office chairs in domestic environments’, both the Research Association and Trading Standards have now developed definitive guidelines to support the furniture industry in this complex topic.
The guidance covers four ‘scenarios’ and clarifies whether the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (FFFSR) would fully apply, alongside the role of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 in the case of:
- Legacy chairs (those marketed and supplied for contract use prior to pandemic/mass migration to home working)
- Chairs marketed as contract use, but could have been taken home
- Chairs knowingly to be sold for use in a domestic environment
- Mesh only chairs or mesh parts of chairs (e.g. mesh backrests)
The scenarios were identified as the most common ones in urgent need of clarification for the sector by the Furniture Industry Research Association and Trading Standards, who also established a Working Group to ensure the scenarios and guidance produced was workable across stakeholders with differing perspectives, including furniture retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, designers and end-users. The full Working Group comprised representation from Allermuir, Allianz, Atkins Global, BASF, Boss Design, Camira Fabrics, Herman Miller, John Lewis and Orangebox.
In addition to a focus on the four scenarios, further sections offering support within the 19 page guidance document include:
- Summary guidelines for compliance
- What needs to be covered under the General Product Safety Regulations, including a definition of a ‘safe product’
- Labelling for permanent labels and display labels for chairs sold for domestic use
- Risk Assessment and accompanying notes
- Ignition source and probability contact with office task chair
- Flammability performance of mesh
The new ‘Guidance for the contract furniture industry: Fire safety of office chairs in domestic environments’ document is available to members of the Research Association via www.fira.co.uk/contractguidance.