NBF ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF LATEST DUE DILIGENCE TESTING
The National Bed Federation (NBF) has revealed the results of its second round of Due Diligence random testing – with NBF members once again faring better than non-members.
A range of 44 products were tested, 21 from members and 23 from non-members. It showed around two thirds of both member and non-member products passed the flammability tests. But while the remaining NBF products were classed as borderline failures, non-member products were clearer cut.
Said NBF technical manager Tristine Hargreaves: “Borderline NBF products included fail tests on mattresses which could not be repeated, while those on headboards had used compliant production materials along with test histories and evidence of purchasing the correct materials from suppliers.
“The remaining non-NBF member product failures were more clear cut with issues such as match test failures on headboard cover materials and match test failures when tested to BS 7177 low hazard domestic use.”
On trade descriptions, major issues were identified on 11 non-members’ products compared with just two from members, both of which were shown to be isolated cases when investigated further.
The 11 major issues identified on non-member products included overstating of spring counts and claiming the presence of fillings materials that were not present at all or not present in the quantity described.
Said Tristine: “In some cases, there were failings for flammability and trade descriptions on the same product, which combined together, do raise concerns”.
Introduced in 2018 after an initial pilot, and now forming part of the NBF’s Code of Practice which has received ‘assured advice’ status from Primary Authority West Yorkshire Trading Standards, the Due Diligence programme was implemented to test the effectiveness of the NBF’s programme of factory audits with random purchases and to investigate allegations of non-compliance.
Products tested included a mix of mattresses, headboards and divan sets. Each product was subject to relevant flammability tests, then cut open and specifications checked against marketing claims.
Results of the testing programme are shared with NBFs Primary Authority – West Yorkshire Trading Standards.
Said Tristine: “Trading Standards has welcomed the sharing of information and where the results warrant further consideration, is actively involved in working with businesses to ensure safety of products placed on the market.
“Where companies do not fall under the West Yorkshire area, results have been passed on to their colleagues at the relevant Trading Standards department and product safety teams for further investigation.
“Trading Standards is also, separately, looking further into this area of compliance in a 2020 project that will further strengthen the intelligence information within TSO and help identify where further action is required.”
In a bid to help the industry meet the requirements of BS 7177, the NBF has produced and published a Best Practice guidance document on how to comply with BS 7177. It is aimed at helping all manufacturers understand how to prepare test samples correctly and ensure they are a replication of actual production, along with advice on how to understand which variables require further testing. The information is freely available to everyone and can be found on the trade section of the NBF website.
Said Tristine: “The NBF is continually working with members to ensure good overall product compliance with audits conducted against the NBF Code of Practice. This checks that the company is meeting legal obligations in key areas such as flammability, cleanliness, trade descriptions. Our due diligence testing programme strengthens this by checking that this compliance is continually demonstrated and not just at the time of audit.”