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#1 Posted : 17 July 2017 09:51:03(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Hi all, another fire related question.

I understand that domestic furniture needs to meet “The furniture and furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988” and non-domestic furniture needs to meet BS7176. The regs noted above require all soft furnishings to have a permeant label to identify they meet the regulations

I don’t have access to BS7176, but my internet searching has noted that there is no actual legal requirement for office furniture to have a label on it.

Is this correct?

All our employee office chairs have reference to the regs and are ok , but I have found some of our visitor chairs ( fixed square metal frame padded seat and back type) have nothing on them other than a quality label on some. They are various ages, but some I think are relatively new. We only have less than half a dozen in any building, but unsure if this is a problem. It is possible they came with some info but that will be long gone by now.

So, is it correct there is no legal requirement to have a label?

#2 Posted : 17 July 2017 12:27:51(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

I don't think there is a requirement for labelling of office furniture but I will check with someone I know who works in Trading Standards and get back to you.

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chris42 on 17/07/2017(UTC)
#3 Posted : 18 July 2017 06:56:35(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user


try here https://www.fira.co.uk/images/FIRA-Contract-Flammability-Guide-PDF.pdf not sure if it has what you want but may lead somewhere.

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chris42 on 18/07/2017(UTC)
#4 Posted : 18 July 2017 07:43:01(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

At first I was going to concur that the 1988 regulations (and amendments) refer to domestic furnishings but then started to ponder things that have changed since their inception:

We now have the internet

People have computer (office) chairs in their domestic environment

People work from home or are home based with employer issued equipment sometimes including a desk and chair

Employers "donate" (free to good home / charity donation etc.) old office furniture for use at home

Retailers have on-line presence (as well as premises) selling direct to the public, not only to businesses

The furniture is often manufactured overseas to bulk order to permit off-the shelf same/next day delivery to unspecified end users - so how does the manufacturer know which item requires labelling unless instructed by the distributor/retailer?

Then you look at other legislation with bearing e.g. smoke free workplaces which effectivley removed the source of hazard in non-domestic properties that the Furniture Fire Safety regulations were designed to control i.e. ignition from smoking materials

Late 2016 the regulations were the subject of government review - be interseting to see if they have caught up with the world we now live in e.g. flammability test for a faulty mobile phone/charger. The consultation seemed keen on identifying the specific flame retardant treatment(s) applied upon the label.

thanks 1 user thanked Roundtuit for this useful post.
chris42 on 18/07/2017(UTC)
#5 Posted : 18 July 2017 11:03:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

We do have office chairs with the fire label attached, but we also have some chairs for meeting rooms etc. that do not I have had a search but couldn't find anything specific, and I would of thought if it was a legal requirement it would of been there.

Domestic, contrct etc. is were people are sleeping and as I only have about 2/3 hours sleep when  i am in work I do not worry so much as said previous the source has been reduced with the banning of smoking, most people are awake, fire doors reduce the spread, training of employees in fire procedures, fire alarm, PA testing or inspection etc would all mitigate the effect and pread of fire. When completing your fire R/A you might want to identify the areas with these chairs and ensure the arears are kept clean and tidy, no heaters etc.

thanks 1 user thanked Invictus for this useful post.
chris42 on 18/07/2017(UTC)
#6 Posted : 18 July 2017 13:51:48(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Thanks for the link Invictus, as below it states for Full compliance, meaning you could have partial compliance? It then goes on to state no formal scheme, then the authorities may want to see compliance.

Ok these are just visitor chairs so in that document would be classed as low hazard environment, but still uncertain if the item Must have a label on it (or just should). Despite the environment being low hazard, there is generally a vending machine nearby, you have phone and chargers and e cigarettes etc (not sure about issues with E Cigs). Realistically they will only burn as a result of the rest of the area on fire.

It would be so much easier if the 1988 regs covered all furniture.

Page 33 from link

A1.4 Product labelling

Full compliance with BS 7176 requires that each item bears a permanently attached label, positioned so that it is clearly visible. The minimum dimensions of the label and size of lettering are also specified within this Standard. The label shall state ‘Complies with BS 7176 for (Low, Medium, High or Very High) Hazard’, as appropriate.

But then a bit under that 

There is no formal scheme for proving compliance with a Standard and a supplier can simply claim compliance.

the Enforcement Authorities are able to insist on sight of documentation pertaining to all products located within premises.

I guess even though our people evacuate in 1 to 2 minutes, any noxious smoke could be a problem for FRS.

Haha the fire risk assessment was done by an external person as I do not have the training or competence. However, they did not even look at the furniture other than to say it needs to meet the 1988 regs / BS7175 in their report – so over to me.

If your only able to get one or two hours sleep at work, you need to empower the rest of the workforce to deal with H&S, and not bother you :o)

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