Fretwork | (NEW) FFR Review ESR
1384
members_posts-template-default,single,single-members_posts,postid-1384,single-format-standard,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_grid_1300,footer_responsive_adv,qode-content-sidebar-responsive,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-16.8,qode-theme-bridge,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.1,vc_responsive
 

(NEW) FFR Review ESR

(NEW) FFR Review ESR

The same strictures apply to this a story the SCOPE documentTable of Contents

 

Questions for FFSEG

Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Essential Safety Requirements Policy Paper

Introduction

Background

Policy aims

Summary of policy recommendations

Summary of research recommendations

Annex A: Background to essential safety requirements in the New Legislative Framework

Annex B: Essential safety requirement in respect of fire from NLF legislation

Annex C: Policy analysis

Maintaining/ improving the current high level of fire safety

Ignition prevention

Flammability and prevention of fire spread/ flash over

Chemical flame retardants

Smoke toxicity

ESRs for individual product categories

References

Questions for FFSEG

 

Q1. Do you agree with each of the recommendations made in this paper (see summary section)? If not, why not?

 

Q2. For each recommendation we would welcome your views on whether it can maintain the current fire standards.

 

Q3. Are there any unintended consequences that you can identify that we have not yet discussed in relation to any of the recommendations made?

 

Q4. Do you agree with the proposed research needed to deliver the ESRs?

 

 

Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Essential Safety Requirements Policy Paper

 

Introduction

  1. This paper seeks to identify:
    1. What the essential fire safety requirements are for domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings in respect of fire.
    2. The research that is necessary to deliver these identified essential safety requirements.

Background

  1. The overarching aim of the new Regulations remains to help reduce the risks of personal injury or loss of life through fires in the home spread by domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings (henceforth referred to collectively as ‘upholstered furniture’).

 

  1. The focus of the new Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations (FFRs) will be on fire safety outcomes that will apply to the totality of the article. These will be underpinned by a set of essential safety requirements (ESRs) that upholstered furniture placed on the market must meet.

 

  1. This approach is consistent with that taken for other consumer product legislation such as toys. It will enable identification of all relevant risks and is the most effective means, in the longer term, of ensuring that fire safety standards are not reduced and of keeping pace with changing risks and technological advances. It will, therefore, enable manufacturers to utilise technological innovations to move to alternative forms of flame resistance while enhancing consumer safety.

 

  1. We propose to base the approach for the new FFRs on the New Approach, adopted in the EU in 1985, but not to be restricted to this. The New Approach introduced the idea of ‘essential requirements’ which arise from the hazards associated with the product, which goods must meet before they are placed on the market. Essential safety requirements allow for a degree of flexibility by indicating what must be achieved but not the technical solutions for meeting the requirements, allowing for technical progress and innovation without the need for constant revision.

 

  1. In the EU, standards bodies have the task of drawing up the corresponding technical specifications for meeting the essential requirements of the legislation, compliance with which will provide a presumption of conformity with the essential requirements (in the case of harmonised standards, i.e. those published in the Official Journal of the European Union). Standards are not mandatory – they are voluntary. Alternative paths to conforming with the essential requirements are possible.

 

  1. The New Legislative Framework (NLF) was adopted in 2008 and built on the principles of the New Approach. It introduced common administrative requirements and clarified the duties of those in the supply chain (economic operators) for complying with the regulations.

 

  1. The “Blue Guide” is the main reference document that explains how to implement the legislation covered by the NLF. In respect of ESRs it says (see also Annex A):
    1. A large part of Union harmonisation legislation limits legislative harmonisation to a number of essential requirements that are of public interest
    2. Essential requirements define the results to be attained, or the hazards to be dealt with, but do not specify the technical solutions for doing so (Official Journal of the European Union – The ‘Blue Guide’ on the implementation of EU products rules, 2016)

 

  1. In defining ESRs under the NLF, they:
    1. Are designed to provide a high level of protection
    2. Define results to be attained but do not specify the technical solutions for doing so
    3. Arise from certain hazards associated with the product
    4. Allow for compliance to be shown by meeting a harmonised EU standard or by other means such as proving the product complies with other technical specifications, at the discretion of the manufacturer.

 

Policy aims

  1. In relation to ESRs our policy aims are to:
  2. Maintain or improve the current high level of fire safety for UK domestic upholstered furniture
  3. Enable a reduction in the use of chemical flame retardants (CFRs) on the grounds of health and the environment, i.e. toxicity of products
  4. Support businesses to bring new and innovative products to market

 

  1. They would be met suitable standards or other acceptable demonstrable means.

 

  1. For the standards that are developed it will need to be considered if they provide a presumption of conformity (full or in part) under the regulations.

 

  1. It would need to be agreed what the conformity assessment process would be[1].

 

  1. In developing the ESRs the following need to be considered:
    1. Alignment with current product safety legislation (General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR), and NLF)
    2. Alignment with fire prevention/safety legislation (Building Regulations 2010, Grenfell phase 1 report, etc.)
    3. How they address the subsidiary public health and environmental aspects of the use of CFRs.
    4. How the assessment of conformity will address ESRs

 

  1. In addition, the ESRs should:
  2. Be simple to follow and enforce – not lead to inconsistency in interpretation creating difficulties for enforcing authorities.
  3. Not lead to financial burden on industry in circumstances that do not justify it.
  4. Recognise the “life cycle” of the product (as part of the circular economy).

 

  1. It should also be borne in mind that the new regulations will form one part of a package of interlinked fire-safety measures that need to be in place to maximise safety outcomes. For example, there is the need for the control of domestic fire spread to allow for an alarm to be triggered and a means of escape.

 

  1. Given the above policy aims, a series of policy questions were identified and considered in detail (Annex C). The following provides a summary of the policy and research recommendations based on the policy analysis detailed in Annex C.

Summary of policy recommendations

  1. To deliver our policy aim of maintaining or improving the current high level of fire safety for UK upholstered furniture, we propose that there should be ESRs for:
    1. Ignition prevention
    2. Fire spread/ flash-over prevention
    3. Flammability

 

  1. To deliver our policy aim of enabling a reduction in the use of chemical flame retardants, we propose that the ESRs should directly address their use.

 

Ignition prevention ESR

  1. We propose that both flaming and non-flaming ignition sources be covered by the ignition prevention ESR to maintain the current fire standards in relation to ignition and more accurately reflect the characteristics of modern domestic fires.

 

  1. We propose that to cover both flaming and non-flaming ignition sources, the ignition prevention ESR needs to be combined with a definition of the ignition source terms used within it, backed up by evidence for these.

 

  1. We propose that a minimum ‘ignition resistance time’ be specified to maintain the current levels of fire safety.

 

  1. Following the above recommendation, the following three options for an ESR to address ignition prevention are proposed for further consideration with FFSEG:

 

  1. They do not readily ignite if directly exposed to a flame or spark or other potential source of fire (‘readily’ would need to be given a definition in the regulations and linked to an objective test).

 

  1. They do not readily ignite across any part of the surface area, by spark or flame or other potential source of fire for (at least) X seconds of continuous contact.

 

  1. Shall resist ignition by non-flaming and flaming ignition sources (defined within the regulations as representative of likely ignition sources) for (at least) X seconds of continuous contact.

 

Fire spread/ flash-over prevention and flammability ESRs

  1. It is proposed that:
  2. One of the following two ESRs be selected for addressing prevention of fire spread/ flash-over:
    1. If they do ignite, burn slowly and present a low rate of spread of the flame (combined with a non-numerical definition of what ‘low rate of spread’ means)
    2. If combustion occurs, fire spread should not exceed % volume of the item in ‘x’ minutes
  3. One of the following two options for an ESR to address flammability be selected:
    1. shall have limited flammability
    2. must not be readily flammable (the flame goes out as soon as the fire cause disappears)

 

Chemical flame retardant ESRs

  1. Any inclusion of requirements relating to CFRs in the Regulations will necessitate a clear definition of a chemical flame retardant. For the purpose of this paper a working definition for CFRs is:
    1. “A chemical substance that is added to materials during their manufacturing process to both reduce the likelihood of the finished product catching fire and slow down combustion” (Source: The European Flame Retardants Association)

 

  1. As stated by Speight (2017) it is important to note that “not all flame retardants present concerns, but the following types often do: (1) halogenated flame retardants, also known as organo-halogen flame retardants that contain chlorine or bromine bonded to carbon and (2) organo-phosphorous flame retardants that contain phosphorous bonded to carbon”. In this paper we are concerned with those CFRs that are considered to have potentially harmful impacts on human health or the environment.

 

  1. Furniture fire safety and general furniture safety are intimately linked, and we therefore propose that the new regulations should include an ESR that specifically addresses one of our state policy aims, to enable a reduction in the use of potentially harmful (to human health or the environment) CFRs.

 

  1. After an analysis of the different options, we propose an ESR to encourage a reduction in the use of potentially harmful CFRs rather than an ESR which would create an effective ban on their use across all upholstered furniture and for which the market is not currently equipped for.
  2. With this in mind, we propose that there should be an essential safety requirement to apply the fire-retardant technology hierarchy:

 

  1. In meeting the fire safety ESRs, manufacturers must show application of, in order of priority, the fire-retardant technology hierarchy:
    1. Use of inherently fire-retardant materials
    2. Design of products
    3. Use of chemical flame retardants

 

  1. In addition, to clarify that the key concern is in relation to the use of potentially toxic CFRs that may have an impact on human health or the environment, one of the following ESRs could be used:

 

  1. Any substances added to the article with the purpose of assisting in meeting the essential fire safety requirements, must not jeopardise the safety or health of users or third parties when they are used as intended or in a foreseeable way (based on toxicity ESR in the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011, Annex B).

 

  1. Any substances added to the article with the purpose of assisting in meeting the essential fire safety requirements, must not significantly increase the toxicity of the article under normal or reasonably foreseeable usage.

 

Smoke toxicity ESR

  1. We recommend that an ESR for smoke toxicity should not be included in the new regulations, primarily because this would move beyond addressing an aim to enable a reduction in the use of potentially toxic CFRs to covering the contribution of all other product constituents to smoke toxicity.

 

Baby product ESR

  1. We recommend that it is investigated if baby products should have their own specific flammability ESRs.

 

  1. Given the particular health concerns surrounding babies and the use of potentially toxic CFRs in upholstered furniture we also recommend that it be investigated whether baby products should have their own ESR requiring that no CFRs be used in their manufacture. The potential combination of this with baby product specific flammability ESRs (as well as additional exclusion criteria applying to baby products – discussed in the scope policy paper) should make this requirement more manageable for industry to meet.

 

Second-hand furniture – re-upholstered furniture ESR

  1. We contend that re-upholstered furniture should be treated the same as all other furniture in scope of the regulations, without a separate ESR.

Polyurethane foam ESR

  1. We propose not including a separate ESR for polyurethane foam, primarily because the ESRs should apply to the product as a whole.

 

Summary of research recommendations

  1. There are many research projects that would add to our knowledge in this policy area, but all cannot be achieved given the time scales and budget available. We have therefore identified the three key research requirements needed to deliver the proposed ESRs.

Ignition prevention/ fire spread ESRs

  1. Carry out literature review to:
    1. Decide on a definition of ‘ignition source’
    2. Select the time delay to ignition that should be specified in the ignition prevention ESR
    3. Define what ‘low rate of spread’ means

 

Baby product ESR

  1. Literature review to further explore whether baby products should have their own specific flammability and CFR ESRs.

 

Annex A: Background to essential safety requirements in the New Legislative Framework

  1. Essential Safety Requirements either arise from certain hazards associated with the product (for example physical and mechanical resistance, flammability, chemical, electrical or biological properties, hygiene, radioactivity, accuracy), or refer to the product or its performance (for example provisions regarding materials, design, construction, manufacturing process, instructions drawn up by the manufacturer), or lay down the principal protection objective (for example by means of an illustrative list). Often they are a combination of these.

 

  1. Under the New Legislative Framework (NLF) manufacturers have to carry out a risk analysis to first identify all possible risks that the product may pose and determine the essential requirements applicable to the product. This analysis has to be documented and included in the technical documentation. In addition, the manufacturer needs to document the assessment of how he is addressing the risks identified to ensure that the product complies with the applicable essential requirements (for example, by applying harmonised standards). If only part of the harmonised standard is applied or it does not cover all applicable essential requirements, then the way applicable essential requirements not covered by it are dealt with, should be documented.

 

  1. Essential requirements define the results to be attained, or the hazards to be dealt with, but do not specify the technical solutions for doing so. The precise technical solution may be provided by a standard or by other technical specifications or be developed in accordance with general engineering or scientific knowledge laid down in engineering and scientific literature at the discretion of the manufacturer. This flexibility allows manufacturers to choose the way to meet the requirements. It allows also that, for instance, the materials and product design may be adapted to technological progress.

 

  1. Under the NLF the wording is intended to be precise enough to create, on transposition into national legislation, legally binding obligations that can be enforced, and to facilitate the setting up of standardisation. They are also formulated so to enable the assessment of conformity with those requirements, even in the absence of harmonised standards or in cases where the manufacturer chooses not to apply them.

 

Conformity- harmonised standards

  1. The current EU System used Harmonised Standards to provide a presumption of conformity.
Official Journal of the European Union – The ‘Blue Guide’ on the implementation of EU products rules 2016.
— The terms ‘standard’, ‘national standard’, ‘European standard’, ‘harmonised standard’, and ‘international standard’ are subject to concrete definitions.
 — Standards are of voluntary application.
— ‘Harmonised standards’ are ‘European standards’ adopted, upon a request made by the Commission for the application of Union harmonisation legislation.
— Harmonised standards provide a presumption of conformity with the essential requirements they aim to cover.

 

  1. Harmonised standards are developed and published like other European standards following the internal rules of European standardisation organisations. According to these rules, all European standards must be transposed at national level by the national standardisation bodies. This transposition means that the European standards in question must be made available as national standards in an identical way, and that all conflicting national standards must be withdrawn in a given period.

 

  1. As long as a title of a harmonised standard is not published in the OJ, the harmonised standard, or parts thereof, does not give presumption of conformity with the essential or other requirements it aims to cover.

 

  1. The European standardisation organisations decide on the work programme for harmonised standards in line with the relevant request. They may also identify existing standards that they judge, after examination and possible revision, to meet the terms of the request, or modify existing standards in order to meet those terms. In the same way, they may identify international or national standards and adopt them as European standards, and present them to the Commission as harmonised standards. It is also possible that sometimes only certain parts or clauses of a harmonised standard support essential requirements and then only those parts or clauses will provide presumption of conformity after the references are published in the OJ.

 

  1. A harmonised standard may contain specifications relating not only to essential requirements but dealing with other non-regulated issues. In such a case, these specifications are clearly distinguished from those covering the essential requirements. A harmonised standard does not necessarily have to cover all essential requirements but it must be always clear which requirements are ‘aimed to be covered’ as otherwise a manufacturer complying with a harmonised standard, referenced in the OJ, does not know against which requirements a ‘presumption of conformity’ will apply and public authorities do not know against which essential requirements they must accept a presumption of conformity.

 

  1. Harmonised standards never replace legally binding essential requirements. A specification given in a harmonised standard is not an alternative to a relevant essential or other legal requirement but only a possible technical means to comply with it. In risk related harmonisation legislation this means in particular that a manufacturer always, even when using harmonised standards, remains fully responsible for assessing all the risks of his product in order to determine which essential (or other) requirements are applicable.

 

  1. Where harmonised standards fail to indicate clearly the essential requirements aimed to be covered, such standards may become less useful for manufacturers as there is less legal certainty on the real ‘scope of presumption of conformity’.

 

  1. Harmonised standards provide a presumption of conformity with the essential requirements they aim to cover, if their references have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. References of harmonised standards are published as Commission Communications in the C series of the OJ.

 

  1. The conformity of a product may be demonstrated not only by harmonised standards but also by other technical specifications. Other technical specifications however do not benefit from the presumption of conformity.

 

  1. The manufacturer can choose whether or not to apply and refer to harmonised standards. However, if the manufacturer chooses not to follow the harmonised standards, he has the obligation to demonstrate that his products are in conformity with essential requirements by the use of other means of his own choice that provide for the level of safety or protection of other interests required by the applicable legislation. These can be technical specifications such as national standards, European or international standards which are not harmonised, i.e. not published in the OJ or the manufacturer’s own specifications. In these cases the manufacturer does not benefit from the presumption of conformity, but has to demonstrate the conformity himself. This implies that he demonstrates, in the technical file of a relevant product, in a more detailed manner how the technical specifications he uses provide conformity with the essential requirements.

 

Annex B: Essential safety requirement in respect of fire from NLF legislation

 

Toys

DIRECTIVE 2009/48/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 18 June 2009

on the safety of toys

The Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011
Essential safety requirements- Article 10

1.   Member States shall take all measures necessary to ensure that toys may not be placed on the market unless they comply with the essential safety requirements set out, as far as the general safety requirement is concerned, in paragraph 2, and, as far as the particular safety requirements are concerned, in Annex II.

 

2.   Toys, including the chemicals they contain, shall not jeopardise the safety or health of users or third parties when they are used as intended or in a foreseeable way, bearing in mind the behaviour of children.

 

The ability of the users and, where appropriate, their supervisors shall be taken into account, in particular, in the case of toys which are intended for use by children under 36 months or by other specified age groups.

 

Labels affixed in accordance with Article 11(2) and instructions for use which accompany toys shall draw the attention of users or their supervisors to the inherent hazards and risks of harm involved in using the toys, and to the ways of avoiding such hazards and risks.

 

3.   Toys placed on the market shall comply with the essential safety requirements during their foreseeable and normal period of use

 

Article 18 Safety assessments – Manufacturers shall, before placing a toy on the market, carry out an analysis of the chemical, physical, mechanical, electrical, flammability, hygiene and radioactivity hazards that the toy may present, as well as an assessment of the potential exposure to such hazards.

 

Annex II- Flammability

 

II.   Flammability

 

 

1.         Toys must not constitute a dangerous flammable element in the child’s environment. They must therefore be composed of materials which fulfil one or more of the following conditions:

 

•           they do not burn if directly exposed to a flame or spark or other potential source of fire;

•           they are not readily flammable (the flame goes out as soon as the fire cause disappears);

•           if they do ignite, they burn slowly and present a low rate of spread of the flame;

•           irrespective of the toy’s chemical composition, they are designed so as to mechanically delay the combustion process.

 

Such combustible materials must not constitute a risk of ignition for other materials used in the toy.

 

2.         Toys which, for reasons essential to their functioning, contain substances or mixtures that meet the classification criteria laid down in Section 1 of Appendix B, in particular materials and equipment for chemistry experiments, model assembly, plastic or ceramic moulding, enamelling, photography or similar activities, must not contain, as such, substances or mixtures which may become flammable due to the loss of non-flammable volatile components.

 

3.         Toys other than toy percussion caps must not be explosive or contain elements or substances likely to explode when used as specified in the first subparagraph of Article 10(2).

 

4.         Toys and, in particular, chemical games and toys, must not contain as such substances or mixtures:

 

a)         which, when mixed together, may explode through chemical reaction or through heating;

b)         which may explode when mixed with oxidizing substances; or

c)         which contain volatile components which are flammable in air and liable to form a flammable or explosive vapour/air mixture.

 

Essential safety requirements – Reg 5

5.—(1) The essential safety requirements in respect of a toy are—

(a) the general safety requirement set out in paragraphs (2) to (5); and

(b) the particular safety requirements set out in Annex II to the Directive (as amended from

time to time), so far as relevant.

(2) Toys, including the chemicals they contain, must not jeopardise the safety or health of users

or third parties when they are used as intended or in a foreseeable way, bearing in mind the

behaviour of children.

(3) The ability of the users and, where appropriate, their supervisors must be taken into account,

in particular, in the case of toys which are intended for use by children under 36 months or by

other specified age groups.

(4) Information as to the matters mentioned in paragraph (5), aimed at users of the toy or their

supervisors, must be preceded by the word “Warning” or “Warnings” and must be marked in

English in a clearly visible, easily legible, understandable and accurate manner on—

(a) the toy, a label affixed to the toy, or the toy’s packaging; and

(b) any instructions for use which accompany the toy.

(5) The matters are—

(a) the inherent hazards and risks of harm involved in using the toy; and

(b) the ways of avoiding such hazards and risks.

 

12. – Safety Assessment – The manufacturer must carry out an analysis of the chemical, physical, mechanical,

electrical, flammability, hygiene and radioactivity hazards that the toy may present, as well as an

assessment of the potential exposure to such hazards.

 

Annex II as per the Directive

 

Construction products

REGULATION (EU) No 305/2011 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 9 March 2011

laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC

EU Regulation – therefore not transposed.
Article 3

Basic requirements for construction works and essential characteristics of construction products

1. The basic requirements for construction works set out in Annex I shall constitute the basis for the preparation of standardisation mandates and harmonised technical specifications.

2. The essential characteristics of construction products shall be laid down in harmonised technical specifications in relation to the basic requirements for construction works.

3. For specific families of construction products covered by a harmonised standard, the Commission shall, where appropriate and in relation to their intended uses as defined in harmonised standards, determine by means of delegated acts in accordance with Article 60, those essential characteristics for which the manufacturer shall declare the performance of the product when it is placed on the market.

Where appropriate, the Commission shall also determine, by means of delegated acts in accordance with Article 60, the threshold levels for the performance in relation to the essential characteristics to be declared.

 

Annex I 2. Safety in case of fire

The construction works must be designed and built in such a way that in the event of an outbreak of fire:

(a) the load-bearing capacity of the construction can be assumed for a specific period of time;

(b) the generation and spread of fire and smoke within the construction works are limited;

(c) the spread of fire to neighbouring construction works is limited;

(d) occupants can leave the construction works or be rescued by other means;

(e) the safety of rescue teams is taken into consideration.

 

 

Recreational craft and personal watercraft

DIRECTIVE 2013/53/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 20 November 2013

on recreational craft and personal watercraft and repealing Directive 94/25/EC

Essential requirements

1. The products referred to in Article 2(1) may be made available or put into service only if they do not endanger the health and safety of persons, property or the environment when correctly maintained and used in accordance with their intended purpose, and only on the condition that they meet the applicable essential requirements set out in Annex I.

2. Member States shall ensure that the products referred to in Article 2(1) are not made available on the market or put into service unless they comply with the requirements of paragraph 1.

 

5.6. Fire protection

5.6.1. General

The type of equipment installed and the layout of the watercraft shall take account of the risk and spread of fire. Special attention shall be paid to the surroundings of open flame devices, hot areas or engines and auxiliary machines, oil and fuel overflows, uncovered oil and fuel pipes and routing of electrical wiring in particular away from heat sources and hot areas.

 

3.8 Escape

All habitable multihull recreational craft susceptible of inversion shall be provided with viable means of escape in the event of inversion. Where there is a means of escape provided for use in the inverted position, it shall not compromise the structure (point 3.1), the stability (point 3.2) or buoyancy (point 3.3) whether the recreational craft is upright or inverted.

Every habitable recreational craft shall be provided with viable means of escape in the event of fire.

5.1. Engines and engine compartments

5.1.1. Inboard engine

All inboard mounted engines shall be placed within an enclosure separated from living quarters and installed so as to minimise the risk of fires or spread of fires as well as hazards from toxic fumes, heat, noise or vibrations in the living quarters.

5.2. Fuel system

5.2.1. General

The filling, storage, venting and fuel-supply arrangements and installations shall be designed and installed so as to minimise the risk of fire and explosion.

5.2.2. Fuel tanks

Fuel tanks, lines and hoses shall be secured and separated or protected from any source of significant heat. The material the tanks are made of and their method of construction shall be in accordance with their capacity and the type of fuel.

Petrol fuel tank spaces shall be ventilated.

Petrol fuel tanks shall not form part of the hull and shall be:

(a)   protected against fire from any engine and from all other sources of ignition;

5.3. Electrical system

Electrical systems shall be designed and installed so as to ensure proper operation of the watercraft under normal conditions of use and shall be such as to minimise risk of fire and electric shock.

 

6.  A person may only make a product available on the market or put it into service if that product—

 

(a)complies with the requirements in Schedule 1; and

(b)does not endanger the health and safety of persons, property or the environment when correctly maintained and used in accordance with its intended purpose.

 

Schedule 1 is as per Annex 1 of the Directive

 

Market and supervision of Explosives

DIRECTIVE 2014/28/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 26 February 2014

on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market and supervision of explosives for civil uses (recast)

The Making Available on the Market and Supervision of Transfers of Explosives Regulations (NI)
Annex I. General requirements

1. Each explosive must be designed, manufactured and supplied in such a way as to present a minimal risk to the safety of human life and health, and to prevent damage to property and the environment under normal, foreseeable conditions, in particular as regards the safety rules and standard practices until it is used.

2. Each explosive must attain the performance characteristics specified by the manufacturer in order to ensure maximum safety and reliability.

3. Each explosive must be designed and manufactured in such a way that when appropriate techniques are employed it can be disposed of in a manner which minimises effects on the environment.

 

Special Requirements

(g) resistance to low and high temperatures, where the explosive is intended to be kept or used at such temperatures and its safety or reliability may be adversely affected by cooling or heating of a component or of the explosive as a whole;

(i)             safety features intended to prevent untimely or inadvertent initiation or ignition;

2. Each explosive shall be tested under realistic conditions. If this is not possible in a laboratory, the tests shall be carried out in the conditions in which the explosive is to be used.

 

SCHEDULE 1

ESSENTIAL SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

(This Schedule reproduces, with minor modifications, the provision of Annex II to the Directive)

 

PART 1

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

1.  Each civil explosive must be designed, manufactured and supplied in such a way as to present a minimal risk to the safety of human life and health, and to prevent damage to property and the environment under normal, foreseeable conditions, in particular as regards the safety rules and standard practices until such time as it is used.

 

2.  Each civil explosive must attain the performance characteristics specified by the manufacturer in order to ensure maximum safety and reliability.

 

3.  Each civil explosive must be designed and manufactured in such a way that when appropriate techniques are employed it can be disposed of in a manner which minimises effects on the environment.

Part 2

(g)Resistance to low and high temperatures, where the civil explosive is intended to be kept or used at such temperatures and its safety or reliability may be adversely affected by cooling or heating of a component or of the civil explosive as a whole.

(i)Safety features intended to prevent untimely or inadvertent initiation or ignition.

 

Market of measuring instruments

DIRECTIVE 2014/32/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 26 February 2014

on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of measuring instruments (recast)

The Measuring Instruments Regulations 2016
Article 6

Essential requirements

A measuring instrument shall meet the essential requirements set out in Annex I and in the relevant instrument-specific Annex.

Member States may require, if it is needed for correct use of the instrument, the information referred to in point 9 of Annex I or in the relevant instrument-specific Annexes to be provided in a language which can be easily understood by end-users, as determined by the Member State in which the instrument is made available on the market.

Manufacturers to mark contact details on regulated measuring instruments where possible

11.—(1) A manufacturer must indicate on every regulated measuring instrument manufactured

by that manufacturer, the manufacturer’s name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and

the postal address at which the manufacturer can be contacted.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply where the dimensions of the regulated measuring instrument

are too small or it is of too sensitive a composition to allow it to bear the information required by

that paragraph and in such a case the information must be marked on the instrument’s packaging

(if any) and the accompanying documents required by these Regulations.

(3) The address required by this regulation must indicate a single point at which the

manufacturer can be contacted.

(4) The contact details required by this regulation must be in a language easily understood by

end-users and market surveillance authorities and, in the case of regulated measuring instruments

made available in the United Kingdom, they must be in English.

 

Lifts

DIRECTIVE 2014/33/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 26 February 2014

on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to lifts and safety components for lifts

The Lifts Regulations 2016
Annex I 3. The manufacturer and the installer are under an obligation to carry out a risk assessment in order to identify all the risks which apply to their products; they must then design and construct them taking account of the assessment.

4. Other risks

4.2. Landing doors, where they have to contribute to the protection of the building against fire, including those with glass parts, must be suitably resistant to fire in terms of their integrity and their properties with regard to insulation (containment of flames) and the transmission of heat (thermal radiation).

 

1. (3) The manufacturer and the installer are under an obligation to carry out a risk assessment in order to identify all the risks which apply to their products; they must then design and construct them taking account of the assessment.

 

5 (2) Landing doors, where they have to contribute to the protection of the building against fire,

including those with glass parts, must be suitably resistant to fire in terms of their integrity and

their properties with regard to insulation (containment of flames) and the transmission of heat (thermal radiation).

 

 

Pressure Equipment

DIRECTIVE 2014/68/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 15 May 2014

on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of pressure equipment

Annex 1

1.     The essential safety requirements are to be interpreted and applied in such a way as to take account of the state of the art and current practice at the time of design and manufacture as well as of technical and economic considerations which are consistent with a high degree of health and safety protection.

 

1 General

1.2. In choosing the most appropriate solutions, the manufacturer shall apply the principles set out below in the following order:

— eliminate or reduce hazards as far as is reasonably practicable;

— apply appropriate protection measures against hazards which cannot be eliminated;

— where appropriate, inform users of residual hazards and indicate whether it is necessary to take appropriate special measures to reduce the risks at the time of installation and/or use.

DESIGN

2.1. General

The pressure equipment shall be properly designed taking all relevant factors into account in order to ensure that the equipment will be safe throughout its intended life.

 

2.12. External fire

Where necessary, pressure equipment shall be so designed and, where appropriate, fitted with suitable accessories, or provision made for their fitting, to meet damage-limitation requirements in the event of external fire, having particular regard to its intended use.

 

Schedule 2 (4) The essential safety requirements are to be interpreted and applied in such a way as to take account of—

(a) the state of the art and current practice at the time of design and manufacture; and

(b) technical and economic considerations which are consistent with a high degree of health

and safety protection.

2.—(1) Pressure equipment must be designed, manufactured and checked, and if applicable

equipped and installed, in such a way as to ensure its safety when put into service in accordance

with the manufacturer’s instructions, or in reasonably foreseeable conditions.

(2) In choosing the most appropriate solutions, the manufacturer must apply the principles set

out below in the following order—

(a) eliminate or reduce hazards as far as is reasonably practicable;

(b) apply appropriate protection measures against hazards which cannot be eliminated;

(c) where appropriate, inform users of residual hazards and indicate whether it is necessary to

take appropriate special measures to reduce the risks at the time of installation and/or use.

 

Part 2 General

3.—(1) Pressure equipment must be properly designed taking all relevant factors into account in

order to ensure that the equipment will be safe throughout its intended life.

 

External fire

18. Where necessary, pressure equipment must be so designed and, where appropriate, fitted

with suitable accessories, or provision made for their fitting, to meet damage-limitation

requirements in the event of external fire, having particular regard to its intended use.

 

Cable way installations

REGULATION (EU) 2016/424 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 9 March 2016 on cableway installations and repealing Directive 2000/9/EC Regulation – not Directive
Annex 2- 2.6.5. Measures shall be taken to ensure that the effects of a fire in the cableway installation do not endanger the safety of persons.

 

PPE

REGULATION (EU) 2016/425 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 9 March 2016 on personal protective equipment and repealing Council Directive 89/686/EEC Regulation – not Directive
Annex II

PPE materials and other components which may accidentally come into contact with flame and those used in the manufacture of industrial or fire-fighting equipment must also possess a degree of non-flammability and thermal or arc heat protection corresponding to the risk class associated with the foreseeable conditions of use. They must not melt when exposed to flames nor contribute to flame propagation.

3.6. Protection against heat and/or fire PPE designed to protect all or a part of the body against the effects of heat and/or fire must possess thermal insulation capacity and mechanical strength appropriate to the foreseeable conditions of use.

 

Appliances burning gaseous fuels

REGULATION (EU) 2016/426 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 9 March 2016 on appliances burning gaseous fuels and repealing Directive 2009/142/EC Regulation- not Directive
3.1.3. Appliances shall be so designed and constructed as to minimise the risk of explosion in the event of a fire of external origin.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annex C: Policy analysis

Maintaining/ improving the current high level of fire safety

Policy question 1

  1. With respect to maintaining or improving the current high level of fire safety for UK domestic upholstered furniture, what issues should ESRs in the new regulations address?

 

  1. Fire safety considerations can largely be split into two main categories, concerned with either the initiation of the fire or the subsequent development of the fire. Therefore, the ESRs for domestic upholstered furniture must address:
    1. Prevention of ignition
    2. Prevention/ control of the spread of fire
    3. Flammability

 

  1. In addition, to address the remaining policy aims listed in paragraph 10, we propose that the ESRs should also encourage a reduction in the use of CFRs by supporting better design and innovation.

 

  1. It is important to bear in mind the difference between ignition and combustion/ flammability. To ‘ignite’ is to set fire to something whereas ‘combustion’ is the act or process of burning. Combustible and flammable materials can be differentiated by the temperatures at which they ignite. Flammable materials are combustible materials that ignite at lower temperatures when exposed to an ignition source. This specific temperature, also known as a flash point, is what distinguishes flammables.

 

  1. There are numerous possible ignition sources, including flaming sources (e.g. matches), smouldering sources (e.g. cigarettes), electrical sources (e.g. a phone charger overheating) and radiant sources (e.g. heaters, fires). It cannot be assumed that if an article is resistant to one type it will automatically be resistant to another.

 

  1. As stated in paragraph 1, we propose that manufacturers should consider the upholstered furniture as a whole and therefore all proposed ESRs should apply to the product as a whole. Through this the aim is to move towards a more realistic and holistic approach to standards testing in order that this should include testing the composite product, the combination of materials as used in the final article and the representative combinations, rather than the testing of individual components.

 

Ignition prevention

Policy question 2

  1. Following on from the identification of the key issues that the ESRs need to address, what ESR can adequately ensure that domestic upholstered furniture is manufactured to prevent ignition?

 

  1. Looking to extant examples of ESRs (see Annex B) and the ideas proposed during OPSS’ February 2020 stakeholder workshops, the following are four key considerations identified that need to be addressed in selecting preferred ESR(s) for ignition avoidance.

 

Key consideration 1: The definition we provide for ignition, in relation to the ignited upholstered furniture.

 

  1. We propose that the definition we provide for ignition will need to ensure that the ignition resistance ESR covers both smouldering as well as flaming ignition resistance in the upholstered furniture item. Smouldering induces a slow, low temperature, flameless combustion.

 

  1. The propensity of flexible polyurethane foam to smouldering (as a result of their high air permeability, low density, and high specific surface area) is a key reason that this type of combustion must also be included in the definition for ignition to be included in the new regulations. Smouldering of such foams is a significant fire hazard because it typically produces more carbon monoxide per unit mass of fuel than does flaming and because it can also initiate flaming with heat sources otherwise too weak.

 

Key consideration 2: Whether the ignition resistance ESR should cover all ignition sources and if so, how it would achieve this.

 

Pros

  1. A recent review and analysis of fire statistics for England (BRE Global, in prep) covering domestic fires during the period 2010/2011 to 2017/2018 (eight years) found that where upholstered furniture is the first item to be ignited in a fire, 30% of these fires are caused by smouldering (smoking related) ignition sources and a further 33% caused by flaming sources (naked flames and candles and matches combined). Given the findings of BRE Global (in prep) it cannot be considered that smouldering ignition sources are the major cause of fires where upholstered furniture is the first item to be ignited and therefore it would not be justified in the UK (the results must by necessity be taken to be representative across the UK) to limit the requirement for upholstered furniture to resist ignition to non-flaming ignition sources only.

 

  1. A study looking into fire safety in upholstered furniture across Europe also recommended including both flaming and non-flaming ignition tests (Hagen and Karemaker, 2014).

 

  1. In contrast, California moved to smoulder resistance testing only (TB 117-2013) for upholstered furniture in order to reduce the use of CFRs; in 2013 (and this applies to upholstered furniture manufacture from 2015 onwards) California eliminated the open flame test for upholstery components including filling materials, such as flexible polyurethane foam, and revised its smoulder resistance requirements. This change was accompanied by a new requirement for information to be displayed on products to state whether upholstery materials contain CFRs (TB 117-2013).

 

  1. Those ignition sources accounting for an increasing proportion of fires in England include the non-flaming ignition source battery chargers (BRE Global, in prep). This in addition to the fact that the above geographically relevant research shows that open flame sources of ignition remain in the modern home, does not support a move to require only ignition resistance to smouldering ignition sources.

 

Cons

  1. Whilst flaming ignition sources continue to be referred to within the ESRs, without further incentives, it is possible that the same level of CFR use will continue as today. However, these ESRs are intended to be used in conjunction with other measures, such as, testing of the final product (not its constituent parts/ components) and updated labelling requirements for CFRs, with the aim of promoting a reduction in the use of CFRs.

 

Recommendation 1

  1. We propose that both flaming and non-flaming ignition sources be covered by the ignition prevention ESR to maintain the current fire standards in relation to ignition and more accurately reflect the characteristics of modern domestic fires.

 

  1. Following on from the above recommendation, to ensure that the ignition resistance ESR covers both non-flaming and flaming ignition sources, this needs to be explicitly stated in the ESR itself and combined with a further, expanded definition within the regulations. The type of ignition source is a significant factor affecting the ignition delay and so the ESR needs to ensure this is addressed by standards testing. Phrases that could cover all ignition sources relevant to upholstered furniture fires are:
  2. a flame or spark or other potential source of fire (as in Toy Directive)
  3. non-flaming and flaming ignition sources
  4. typical domestic risks

 

  1. BRE Global (in prep) found that “where furniture is the item first ignited, the main ignition sources are either smoking-related, matches and candles, or other naked flame. Combined, these account for nearly two-thirds of all fires in the sample”. In addition, the following ignition source categories were identified when upholstered furniture is first ignited: cooking appliance, heating equipment, electric lighting, electric supply (includes mobile phone charging points), other domestic style appliances (includes laptops, mobile phones, e-cigarettes) (BRE Global, in prep).

 

  1. BRE Global (in prep) noted that within its research there were suggestions “that use and misuse testing of electrical products with upholstered furniture could be incorporated into flammability tests and the relevant standards.” To promote this, the definition of ignition source in the new regulations would need to specifically (either individually or by relevant categories such as lithium ion batteries) include these in the examples provided.

 

Recommendation 2

  1. We propose that to cover both flaming and non-flaming ignition sources the ignition prevention ESR needs to be combined with a definition of the ignition source terms used within it, backed up by evidence for these.

 

Key consideration 3: Whether the ignition resistance ESR should include a time specification associated with the required ignition resistance.

 

Pros

  1. As outlined in paragraph 14, it is recognised that opportunities of escaping and surviving can be increased by preventing or slowing down the ignition of the upholstered furniture. It therefore follows that in terms of fire safety, specifying a time for which an item should resist ignition would increase fire safety.

 

Cons

  1. Depending on what the time specification is it may not promote a decrease in the use of CFRs, particularly for foam. How long must the cover material resist ignition to allow time for alarm to sound, and escape and could this mean more CFRs in cover materials?

 

  1. There may be limited research available to enable a time delay to be selected that considers the various factors such as ignition source type and location in relation to the upholstered furniture item (Janssens, 2012). This could, however, be addressed by basing the time delay selected on the most likely worst-case scenario in relation to upholstered furniture fires.

 

Recommendation 3

  1. We propose that a minimum ‘ignition resistance time’ be specified to maintain the current levels of fire safety.

 

  1. Further to the above recommendation, the following three options for an ESR to address ignition prevention are proposed for consideration with FFSEG:

 

  1. They do not readily ignite if directly exposed to a flame or spark or other potential source of fire (based on Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC, see Annex B) but replacing ‘do not burn’ with ‘do not readily ignite’ as we are concerned here with resistance to being set on fire (i.e. ignition) rather than the ongoing process of burning) – ‘readily’ would need to be given a time definition in the regulations.

 

  1. They do not readily ignite across any part of the surface area, by spark or flame or other potential source of fire (for (at least) X seconds of continuous contact) – based on suggestions during OPSS’ February 2020 stakeholder workshops (OPSS, 2020).

 

  1. Shall resist ignition by non-flaming and flaming ignition sources (defined within the regulations as representative of likely ignition sources) for (at least) X seconds of continuous contact.

 

Flammability and prevention of fire spread/ flash over

Policy question 3

  1. If the initial fire prevention measures do fail, what ESR can adequately ensure that upholstered furniture is manufactured to prevent fire spread/ flash over? There are two aspects to consider here: flammability itself and rate of fire spread. In this case other relevant ESR examples (see Annex B) and the OPSS February 2020 stakeholder workshops indicate that there are fewer possible variations in addressing this policy question (OPSS, 2020).

 

Recommendation 4

  1. Notwithstanding results of the required research (see below) it is proposed that:
  2. one of the following two ESRs be selected for addressing prevention of fire spread/ flash-over:
    • If they do ignite, burn slowly and present a low rate of spread of the flame (combined with a non-numerical definition of what ‘low rate of spread’ means)
  1. If combustion occurs, fire spread should not exceed % volume of the item in ‘x’ minutes
  1. one of the following two options for an ESR to address flammability be selected:
    1. shall have limited flammability
    2. must not be readily flammable (the flame goes out as soon as the fire cause disappears)

Research required to deliver the ignition prevention/ fire spread ESRs

  1. Carry out a review to:
    1. Decide on a definition of ‘ignition source’
    2. Select the time delay to ignition that should be specified in the ignition prevention ESR
    3. Define what ‘low rate of spread’ means

 

Chemical flame retardants

Policy question 4

  1. Should the new regulations include ESR(s) that directly address the use of potentially harmful (to human health or the environment) CFRs?

 

  1. CFRs are designed to prevent ignition from small ignition sources and to reduce the rate of fire spread during the early stages of a fire.

 

  1. Any inclusion of requirements relating to CFRs in the Regulations will necessitate a clear definition of a chemical flame retardant. For the purpose of this paper a working definition for CFRs is:
    1. “A chemical substance that is added to materials during their manufacturing process to both reduce the likelihood of the finished product catching fire and slow down combustion” (Source: The European Flame Retardants Association)

 

  1. “Since the term “flame retardant” describes a function and not a chemical class, there is a wide range of different chemicals which are used for this purpose. Often they are applied in combinations. This variety of products is necessary, because the materials and products which are to be rendered fire safe are very different in nature and composition. For example, plastics have a wide range of mechanical and chemical properties and differ in combustion behaviour. Therefore, they need to be matched to the appropriate flame retardants in order to retain key material functionalities.” (Source: The European Flame Retardants Association)

 

  1. As stated by Speight (2017): “not all flame retardants present concerns, but the following types often do: (1) halogenated flame retardants, also known as organo-halogen flame retardants that contain chlorine or bromine bonded to carbon and (2) organo-phosphorous flame retardants that contain phosphorous bonded to carbon”. In this paper we are concerned with those CFRs that are considered to have potentially harmful impacts on human health or the environment.

 

  1. Looking at the life cycle of upholstered furniture there are several key risks that arise due to the inclusion of potentially harmful CFRs (list adapted from Guillaume et al 2000):
  2. Risk of exposure to CFRs during manufacturing (worker acute and chronic toxicity)
  3. Risk of widespread exposure to CFRs under normal living conditions (mainly results from accumulation of release CFRs in indoor air (inhalation) and/ or skin contact and migration of substances (chronic toxicity) – owing to presence of CFRs in a majority of households in the UK
  4. Environmental risk during recycling, landfilling or inadequate incineration of the products (mainly ecotoxicity) (Shaw, 2010)
  5. Risk of increasing emissions of toxic gases during an accidental fire (acute toxicity) (Shaw, 2010)

 

  1. Any new requirements must both align with REACH and be assessable through standard risk assessment methodologies.

 

Pros

  1. There is an extensive literature base on the toxicity of potentially harmful CFRs (e.g. Shaw et al 2010; Kademoglou et al 2017; Costa and Giordano, 2007). Shaw et al (2010) found that reducing the use of those flame-retardant chemicals that are known to be toxic or are as yet untested in consumer products can protect human and animal health and the global environment without compromising fire safety.

 

  1. Including ESR(s) on potentially harmful CFRs would address a key policy aim to reduce the use of potentially harmful CFRs as outlined in paragraph 10.

 

  1. Including ESR(s) on potentially harmful CFRs would send a clear signal that the focus on fire safety is set within the broader context of overall product safety (encompassing health and the environment)

 

  1. The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (REACH) are the mechanism that assesses chemical safety at a given point in time, but this does not consider the toxicity of a product that contains a chemical or chemical mixture. This can be considered within the remit of the new regulations.

 

  1. This would support the move to a circular economy, by supporting a move to more environmentally friendly upholstered furniture designs that allow for recycling and refurbishment.

 

Cons

  1. Despite the limitations of REACH expressed above, it provides an ongoing process in developing restrictions including for flame retardants not allowed in articles. In addition, the GPSR require that a product be safe and detail product standards that address individual articles and specify requirements for chemical toxicity.

 

  1. A reduction in the use of CFRs could be encouraged through other legislative requirements in the new regulations, for example through raising consumer awareness by appropriate CFR labelling requirements (see CFR labelling options paper).

 

  1. It will already be challenging enough to agree those aspects related to determining flammability ESRs without having to consider ESRs relating to CFRs.

 

 

Recommendation 5

  1. As discussed above, furniture fire safety and general furniture safety are intimately linked, and we therefore propose that, the new regulations should include ESR(s) that address the use of potentially harmful (to human health or the environment) CFRs. We contend that this can be achieved in harmony with other interrelated legislation and DEFRA’s chemicals strategy.

 

Policy question 5

  1. What ESR(s) can adequately ensure that domestic upholstered furniture is manufactured to maintain fire safety standards whilst also improving overall product safety regarding the use of potentially harmful (to human health or the environment) CFRs?

 

  1. We propose that the wording of an appropriate ESR be focused on CFRs/ manipulation of the product carried out to achieve the fire safety requirements in general rather than on individual risks associated with the separate stages of the product life cycle. The latter is better addressed through compliance assessments and the broader UK chemicals strategy, the policy lead for which is DEFRA.

 

  1. As discussed below, a consideration of smoke toxicity is considered beyond the scope of the regulations owing largely to the fact that there are many other materials contributing to this beyond CFRs. It therefore follows that an ESR addressing the use of potentially harmful CFRs in upholstered furniture be focused on addressing toxicity of the product under normal domestic use. It can be reasonably expected to require industry to mandate achieving the required fire safety standards without causing health detriment to users in their everyday use of a product.

 

CFR ESR option 1: encourage reduction in CFR use

  1. To encourage a reduction in the use of CFRs we propose the requirement for a hierarchical approach, with the preferred route to maintenance of fire safety standards being the use of intrinsically fire retardant materials and the next best option being to design fire retardancy into a product. This hierarchical approach is consistent with the use of the precautionary principle applied to an assessment of potential human and environmental exposure hazards associated with CFRs (Stevens et al, 2010).

 

  1. Given the acknowledged risks associated with CFRs, to health and the environment, it follows that in order to reduce their use in upholstered furniture, the new regulations should require the application of the precautionary principle and a risk-informed approach to their use, whilst maintaining fire safety standards. This is feasible because there is “significant scope to move towards design-based and intrinsic fire retardancy approaches which can avoid the use of chemical FR technologies” (Stevens et al, 2010).

 

Potential ESRs:

  1. Potential options for an ESR to enable a reduction in the use of CFRs could therefore include a requirement to apply a fire-retardant technology hierarchy (Stevens et al, 2010) such as the following:
  2. In meeting the fire safety ESRs, the fire-retardant technology hierarchy must be applied in the following order of priority:
    1. Use of inherently fire-retardant materials
    2. Design of products
  • Use of chemical flame retardants

 

  1. In addition, to clarify that the key concern is in relation to the use of potentially toxic CFRs that may have an impact on human health or the environment, one of the following ESRs could be used:

 

  1. Any substances added to the article with the purpose of assisting in meeting the essential fire safety requirements, must not jeopardise the safety or health of users or third parties when they are used as intended or in a foreseeable way (based on Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011, Annex B).

 

  1. Any substances added to the article with the purpose of assisting in meeting the essential fire safety requirements, must not significantly increase the toxicity of the article under normal or reasonably foreseeable usage. (This option would require an assessment and understanding of the toxicity of the base materials to be able to set a benchmark and a consideration of what is ‘significant’ and how to measure it).

 

Pros

  1. Sends a clear message to industry of the preferred means of achieving fire safety standards, acknowledging the health concerns surrounding the use of potentially toxic CFRs in upholstered furniture.

 

  1. More realistic to expect political endorsement for the promotion of a reduction in CFR use as opposed to an effective ban on CFRs in upholstered furniture through the fire safety regulations.

Cons

  1. There is a question over whether this approach goes far enough in addressing the risks associated with CFRs.

 

  1. There may be significant challenges in the enforcement of this approach.

 

  1. Industry may require new guidance to accompany the new regulations to cover the application of a flame-retardant technology to upholstered furniture. This may be extremely challenging to produce.

 

CFR ESR option 2: require no CFR use in upholstered furniture

 

Potential ESR:

  1. A potential option for an ESR that specifies no CFR use could be:

 

  1. The fire safety essential safety requirements must be met without the use of chemical flame retardants.

Pros

  1. Would address the health concerns surrounding CFR use in upholstered furniture.

 

  1. The preferred option for a circular economy – enables re-use and refurbishment. The presence of CFRs creates significant challenges for end of life waste, and place significant additional costs on society (Shaw, 2010).

Cons

  1. The market is not currently equipped for this – there are only a limited number of products currently on the market which meet the current fire safety standards without the use of CFRs; the costs and market constraints of requiring the same fire safety standards to be met but without CFR use across all upholstered furniture may be prohibitive. This may lead to a significant industry backlash.

 

  1. There is a question over whether ESRs are the most appropriate legislative vehicle through which to effectively ban the use of CFRs in furniture.

 

  1. The current regulations do not stipulate the use of CFRs; REACH or the Persistent Organic Pollutant Regulations are the mechanisms by which CFRs are controlled and are within DEFRA’s policy remit.

 

  1. There is a significant likelihood of an unsuccessful consultation which would further delay any progress being made in this policy area.

 

  1. This route re-supposes that all chemical flame retardants are inherently harmful but if there is a flame retardant that is non-toxic both to the user and the environment then this is a good substance.

Recommendation 6

  1. Both above options would lead to a reduction in the use of CFRs, however given the balance of pros and cons for each, we propose an ESR to encourage a reduction in CFR use rather than an effective ban.

Research required to deliver the CFR essential safety requirement

  1. Literature review to assess the application of a fire-retardant hierarchy to upholstered furniture and the potential need for guidance on this.

 

Smoke toxicity

Policy question 6

  1. Should the proposed ESRs address smoke toxicity?

 

Pros

  1. There is evidence that CFRs contribute to smoke toxicity; gas-phase flame retardants used in upholstered furniture can increase the yields of the main asphyxiants, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide (Molyneux et al 2014a).

 

  1. Including fire toxicity in the ESR(s) would promote a reduction in the use of CFRs and may thereby improve fire safety (McKenna et al 2018) by contributing to addressing the identified CFR risk of increasing emissions of toxic gases during an accidental fire (Guillaume et al 2000).

 

Cons

  1. We aim to promote a reduction in the use of CFRs through a separate ESR, the result of which would be a decrease in smoke toxicity. The additional need for a separate smoke toxicity ESR is therefore questioned, given the difficulty in elucidating the relative contribution of CFRs to smoke toxicity.

 

  1. A smoke toxicity ESR goes beyond the policy aim of enabling a reduction in the use of potentially toxic CFRs to covering the contribution of other materials to smoke toxicity such as polyurethane foam, which are known to generate more smoke and toxic effluents, “particularly when compounded with halogenated flame retardants” (Stec 2017). This would move outside of the remit of the new regulations.

 

  1. It may not be feasible to produce standards testing that could address a safety requirement for smoke toxicity, based on limitations in defining methods to assess emissions and if dangerous chemicals can become accessible. It would be extremely challenging to assess what the balance should be between preventing fires and preventing inhalation of toxic fumes/ everyday exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
  2. The benefit gained in terms of fire prevention relative to the human health cost incurred in terms of increased toxicity of smoke should an accidental fire occur, is not clear.

 

Recommendation 7

  1. Based on the above considerations, we recommend that an ESR for smoke toxicity should not be included in the new regulations, primarily because this would go beyond the policy aim of enabling a reduction in the use of potentially toxic CFRs to covering the contribution of other product materials to smoke toxicity.

 

ESRs for individual product categories

Policy question 7

  1. Should there be additional ESRs for furniture subgroups/ categories of product? The three key considerations identified in relation to the question are discussed below.

 

Key consideration 1: Baby products

  1. The intimately related policy question of whether baby products/ a subset of baby products should remain in scope of the new regulations is covered in a separate policy paper on scope. Here we consider the question of whether, of those baby products remaining in scope, they should be subject to specific ESR(s).

 

  1. The baby product sector covers a huge range of articles, which brings with it many challenges such as how to determine the difference between a child chair or bed to determine the risk from different ignition sources and its impact in a fire.

 

  1. There may therefore be a need to see the childcare sector not as a single entity having the same risks but to consider different articles, exposure to ignition sources and their impact in a fire.

 

  1. For this sector key policy questions to address are whether, whilst maintaining fire safety:
    1. It is necessary for a given childcare article to meet flammability requirements removing the need for CFRs – this is addressed in the policy paper on scope.

And/ or

  1. It is necessary to give baby products separate consideration via a separate set of flammability ESRs(covering both ignition resistance and fire spread), in relation to use, exposure to potential ignition sources and intended effect.

And/ or

  1. Whether the risk for a child mouthing the article containing CFRs leads to the need for a requirement that no CFRs be used in these products.

 

Baby product specific flammability ESRs

Pros

  1. Would maintain the current high standards of fire safety and not lead to deregulation of fire safety for baby products.

 

  1. Would address specific concerns in baby sector, recognising the differences in use, exposure to potential ignition sources and intended effect and thereby also enable a reduction in the use of CFRs. An example is the pushchair where currently the FFRs apply but this approach would enable consideration to be given to the exposure source and whether the risk differs when considered indoors or outdoors.

Cons

  1. The delineation between ‘babies’ and ‘young children’ may be fairly subjective and also extremely challenging to decide on/ define.

 

  1. May overcomplicate the regulations with many different standards potentially needed. This may have a negative impact on industry

 

  1. Could be perceived as a lowering of standards for baby products.

Baby product CFR ESR

Pros

  1. This would address the concern that children may be particularly vulnerable to toxic chemicals in the environment, because their brain and other organs are still developing; babies have been singled out as particularly vulnerable to the health risks associated with CFRs in upholstered furniture owing to their hand-to-mouth behaviours (Xue et al 2007), increased breathing rates and proximity to materials containing CFRs for prolonged periods. Research has found that children have higher concentrations of flame retardants in their bodies than adults (Butt et al 2014).
  2. There are a small number of products on the UK market which meet the current FFRs without the use of CFRs. A requirement for baby products within the scope of the new regulations to meet the ESRs without the use of CFRs may therefore be technically feasible.

 

Cons

  1. The current regulations do not stipulate the use of CFRs; REACH or the Persistent Organic Pollutant Regulations are the mechanisms by which CFRs are controlled and are within DEFRA’s policy remit.

 

  1. The products currently on the UK market which meet the current FFRs without the use of CFRs can also highlight a ‘con’ as they are limited in number; the costs and market constraints of requiring the same fire safety standards to be met but without CFR use across all baby products may be prohibitive. This may lead to a significant industry backlash.

 

  1. This requirement may lead to a significant additional cost to industry which would likely then be transferred to an increase in product prices. This leads to a question over how poorer sectors of society would be able to afford these high price CFR-free products.
  2. The delineation of baby products may not address all potential baby exposures to CFRs adequately.

 

  1. The delineation between ‘babies’ and ‘young children’ may be fairly subjective. It may be more appropriate to ensure that the ESRs adequately address health concerns for all products in scope of the regulations.

 

Recommendation 8

  1. We recommend that baby products should have their own specific flammability ESRs. We recommend that it is investigated if baby products should have their own specific flammability ESRs.

 

  1. Given the particular health concerns surrounding babies and the use of potentially toxic CFRs in upholstered furniture we also recommend that it be investigated whether baby products should have their own ESR requiring that no CFRs be used in their manufacture. The potential combination of this with baby product specific flammability ESRs (as well as additional exclusion criteria applying to baby products – discussed in the scope policy paper) should make this requirement more manageable for industry to meet.

Key consideration 2: Second-hand furniture – re-upholstered furniture

  1. The re-upholstery industry, the majority of which are SMEs (OPSS, 2020), has expressed concerns about compliance with ESRs in relation to, for example, labelling and the keeping of a technical file, particularly when furniture is only partially refurbished.
  2. To make clear how the new regulations will apply to the re-upholstery sector, one suggestion for a specific ESR for this sector was:
    1. Shall maintain or improve the same standard as the original product

 

  1. This could be accompanied with guidance on how conformity would be achieved in this case.

 

  1. The following is a consideration of the pros and cons of the suggested ESR.

 

Pros

  1. Including a separate ESR that applies to the re-upholstery business would send a clear message of what is expected in terms of essential safety requirements as there is considered to be ambiguity at present.

 

  1. If the life cycle approach to products is considered, then it could be argued that re-upholstered furniture be treated no differently from all other upholstered furniture.

 

Cons

  1. The re-upholstery industry has expressed concerns about compliance with ESRs.

 

Recommendation 9

  1. We propose that re-upholstered furniture should be treated the same as all other furniture and would need to show compliance with the new regulations.

 

Key consideration 3: Polyurethane foam in upholstered furniture

 

  1. Foam used in upholstered furniture is either polyurethane or latex rubber (the latter of which may or may not be from natural materials). Polyurethane foam is more commonly used than latex, is always synthetic and is produced in block or crumb form.

 

Pros

  1. If polyurethane foams (block and crumb) are not treated to make them fire-retardant, they represent a considerable fire risk. In addition, when polyurethane foams burn, they produce toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. It may therefore be appropriate to single out this material for specific safety requirements.

 

  1. An additional ESR for the polyurethane foam used in furniture (with a view to separate testing of these materials) may be able to be used to prevent having highly flammable foam in furniture in order to help the upholstery industry and consumers.

 

Cons

  1. All proposed ESRs should apply to the product as a whole.

 

  1. An ESR specifying separate tests for polyurethane foam may stifle innovation, however if a consideration of health and environmental impacts is incorporated this may on the other hand promote further investment into safer and more sustainable solutions to achieving fire retardance.

 

  1. A separate focus on polyurethane foam may be misplaced because a subset of industry stakeholders suggest that the key focus is in fact the cover material and that if the cover material or barrier layer is appropriately designed then less CFRs are needed in foam (OPSS 2020).

 

  1. One argument against a separate ESR in this case is the difficulty in delineating the material under consideration in a way that ensures future-proofing of the regulations – there may be subtle differences in composition of fillings which would mean that the ESR could be circumvented.

 

  1. It may be more effective to ensure that ESRs can address all products in a satisfactory way rather than attempting to define subsections.

 

Recommendation 10

  1. Given the focus on a whole product approach we propose that a separate ESR for polyurethane foam should not be included in the regulations.

Additional research suggestions for furthering knowledge in this policy area

  1. Review of new (since current FFRs came to force) ignition sources in the UK (that could result in a fire where upholstered furniture is the first to be ignited) to
  2. decide on subset of ignition sources that could act as representative for each major category
  3. enable decision on definition of ‘ignition source’ in the new regulations

 

  1. Carry out an evidence review to select the minimum requirement in terms of the time delay to ignition that a given piece of upholstered furniture should provide.

 

  1. Review the evidence behind a recommendation from one of the major test houses (OPSS 2020), that, rather than assessing simple ignitability we should be focusing an ESR on time to ‘flash-over’, in other words when there is a change from localised burning to fully stirred burning in a room. The focus on ignition prevention may be misplaced as some flash-overs can occur within several minutes from ignition; others may take significantly longer.

 

  1. Evidence review to decide whether a numerical definition of ‘low rate of spread’ in the ESR improves fire safety outcomes and if so what the definition of ‘low rate of spread’ should be. To include reviewing:
  2. A representative range of fire scenarios involving upholstered furniture
  3. The time between ignition and untenable conditions that would result in serious injury or death (time allowed for escape) for different types of domestic properties
  4. Fire growth rates
  5. Time needed to allow for intervention of fire services
  6. Average time it takes for fire alarm to sound and alert occupants

 

  1. Literature review of the enforcement of the toxicity ESR included in the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 – to inform a decision on the feasibility of enforcement of the proposed CFR ESR.

 

  1. California case study – impact of CFR ban in upholstered furniture on domestic fires in California (covering number of fires and causes of fires since then).

 

  1. Evidence review of long-term durability of CFRs.

 

  1. Review of data on dosage levels to address the question of whether manufacturers add more CFRs than needed to meet fire safety requirements at the point of sale, because it wears off over time.

 

  1. Review the evidence on the feasibility of standard ‘environmental performance’ testing for CFRs or flame retardants in general.

 

  1. Review of evidence on relative risks to CFRs across the identified vulnerable groups to provide supporting evidence for or against baby products being singled out for a separate ESR.

 

  1. Review of evidence for age cut-off when potential health risks from CFRs become similar between adults and children, i.e. determining an age limit if a separate baby/ young child ESR were determined.

References

BRE Global (in prep) Characteristics of Modern Domestic Fires and the implications for product performance testing; BEIS.

 

Butt CM, Congleton J, Hoffman, Fang M et al (2014) Metabolites of Organophosphate Flame Retardants and 2-ethylhexyl Tetrabromobenzoate in Urine From Paired Mothers and Toddlers. Environmental Science Technolo 48(17): 10432-8.

 

Chang BP, Thakur S, Mohanty AK, Misra M (2019) Novel sustainable biobased flame retardant from functionalized vegetable oil for enhanced flame retardancy of engineering plastic. Scientific Reports 9: 15971.

 

Costa LG, Giordano G (2007) Developmental neurotoxicity of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants. NeuroToxicology 28(6): 1047-1067.

 

Stevens G, Kandola B, Morley N (2010) Fire Retardant Technologies: safe products with optimised environmental hazard and risk performance. A research report completed for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by GnoSys UK Ltd in association with the University of Bolton and Oakdene Hollins Ltd; published by DEFRA.

 

Environmental Audit Committee (2019) Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life. Twentieth Report of Session 2017-19. House of Commons.

 

Guillaume E, Chivas C, Sainrat A (2000) Regulatory issues and flame retardant usage in upholstered furniture in Europe. LNE – CEMATE – Fire Behaviours Division, Trappes, France.

 

Hagen R, Karemaker M (2014) Fire-study to increase the fire safety of furniture. Federation of the European Union Fire Officer Associations.

 

Janssens ML (2012) Reducing Uncertainty of Quantifying the Burning Rate of Upholstered Furniture. Report to the US Department of Justice.

 

Kademoglou K, Xu F, Padilla-Sanchez JA, Haug LS et al (2017) Legacy and alternative flame retardants in Norwegian and UK indoor environment: Implications of human exposure via dust ingestion, Environment International 102: 48-56

 

McKenna ST, Birtles R, Dickens K, Walker RG et al (2018) Flame retardants in UK furniture increase smoke toxicity more than they reduce fire growth rate. Chemosphere 196: 429-439.

 

OPSS (2020) New Approach to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations – stakeholder engagement workshops; February 2020, Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations team. Unpublished report.

 

Shaw SD, Blum A, Weber R, Kannan K et al (2010) Halogenated Flame Retardants: Do the Fire Safety Benefits Justify the Risks? Reviews on Environmental Health 25 (4)

 

Speight, JG (2017) Sources and Types of Organic Pollutants, chapter in ‘Environmental Organic Chemistry for Engineers’. Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 9780128044926. 538 pp.

 

TB 117-2013 (2013) Technical Bulletin 117-2013, Requirements, Test Procedure and Apparatus for Testing the Smolder Resistance of Materials Used in Upholstered Furniture. State of California Department of Consumer Affairs.

 

Xue J, Zartarian V, Moya J, Freeman N et al (2007) A Meta‐Analysis of Children’s Hand‐to‐Mouth Frequency Data for Estimating Nondietary Ingestion Exposure. Risk Analysis 27(2)

 

Zhang J, Yue L, Kong Q, Liu Z et al (2014) Sustainable, heat-resistant and flame-retardant cellulose-based composite separator for high-performance lithium ion battery. Scientific reports 4: 3935. 10.1038/srep03935.

 

[1] The current EU system uses Harmonised Standards to provide a presumption of conformity

 

Peter Wragg
Peter Wragg
pjw@fretwork.org.uk
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.