National Fire Chiefs Council responds to safety regs regarding upholstered furniture

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has published its responses to two new government consultations which seek to modernise product safety legislation.

The consultations have been undertaken by the Department for Business and Trade and look at the regulatory framework for product safety and fire safety in domestic upholstered furniture.

Charlie Pugsley, NFCC Lead for Electrical Safety and Fire Investigation, said: “The consultations are an important step in improving product safety laws.

“NFCC and fire and rescue services have seen the impact of outdated laws on fire safety in the modern environment. It is time for change to protect consumers no matter where or how they buy products in the UK.”

The Smarter Regulation: Fire safety of domestic upholstered furniture consultation looks to update regulations to protect the public from injury and death arising from flammable furniture, taking into account modern-day hazards and risks.

NFCC agrees that a new approach is needed to ensure that domestic upholstered furniture continues to be fire-safe, and to ensure high levels of consumer protection in the modern home.

NFCC supports the regulations which enable a reduction in the use of Chemical Flame Retardants and new regulations around labelling which will benefit the consumer and enable better enforcement by improving traceability coupled with the increased time available to take legal action in the case of non-compliance.

NFCC welcomes OPSS’s proposal to play a central coordinating role in the regulatory regime, which we hope will mitigate some of the resourcing pressures faced by Trading Standards.

However, NFCC believes that the modern approach must be kept under review to ensure that fire safety is not compromised. An 18-month transitionary time frame should have the ability to be extended in case of delays in this process. NFCC also suggests that a three-year review clause would be more appropriate than the five years suggested in the proposals, to ensure that safety standards are maintained, and any emerging fire risks are considered.

NFCC’s responses were developed in consultation with its members from across the UK fire and rescue services and demonstrate its expertise and competence with the subject matter. To view the response in full, click here.

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