UK’S FIRE REGULATIONS NEED TO PROTECT CONSUMERS
The BFC welcomes issues highlighted by the recent ‘Fake Britain’ programme. It showed that sofas and mattresses which do not comply with the UK’s strict flammability regulations are on sale in the UK, even through major retailers.
The members of the British Furniture Confederation (BFC) are fully committed to supporting the fire safety regulations and have been actively campaigning for more resources to aid more rigorous enforcement by Trading Standards.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations were introduced in 1988 to improve safety in the home and since then, the number of deaths from fires in the home in the UK has decreased steadily. There were 62,609 house fires in the UK in 1985 with 700 deaths. Figures for England for 2012 state there were a total of 35,390 fires in the home and 213 deaths. Between 1988 and 2002, a government commissioned report estimated that the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations have played a direct role in saving 1,150 lives and preventing 13,442 injuries.2
The BFC is also actively involved in the current proposed revision of the Regulations being carried out by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The BFC is working to ensure any revisions will not weaken the current regulations, which would be detrimental to UK consumer safety. The aim is to make the regulations easier to understand and meet, thereby hopefully reducing the amount of non-compliant furniture making its way onto the market.
To ensure safety, the BFC recommends that consumers buy furniture produced by a member of recognised trade association committed to high standards, such as BFC members, the British Furniture Manufacturers Association (BFM), the National Bed Federation (NBF), Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA) and British Contract Furnishings Association (BCFA). In addition consumers should select product that has been tested for compliance by independent testing laboratories such as FIRA International.