EU Furniture Recalls Under the Spotlight
Outdoor furniture, bunk beds, indoor and office chairs, furniture products in all these categories were recalled in 2015.
RAPEX, the European rapid alert system for dangerous products facilitates, recorded 11 furniture recall events in 2015 for items of furniture that presented a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers.
Most Common Recall
In 2015, the most recalled product category was outdoor furniture. Five products were recalled, from a number of sources. The principal reason for recall was the failure of products to conform to EN 581-2: Outdoor Furniture, and its strength requirements. This fault was found in both outdoor table and chairs.
EN 581, EN 581-2 and EN 581-3 have been updated to improve mechanical safety requirements and test methods. The updated EN 581-2 was published in 2015, and publication of the revised EN 581 and EN 581-3 is expected in 2016.
Bunk beds too came under scrutiny, as three products (two wooden and one metal framed) were recalled for a variety of defects. One product failed to meet the EN 747 standard, and presented a trap hazard into which children could insert their head. The other two products presented a risk of falling, due to an over-wide bunk opening and an unsafe safety barrier.
In September 2015, the scope of the EN 747 standard was revised to include the bunk bed and high bed with an upper bed surface upper than 600mm instead of 800 mm previously.
Unstable chairs present an unreasonable risk of tipping over. Failure to comply with EN 12520: Domestic Furniture requirements for safety resulted in the recall of an upholstered chair in Lithuania. Unstable and with accessible sharp edges, the product was banned.
Effective in 2016, the EU domestic furniture standard, EN 12520 and EN 12521, relating to the safety and durability of domestic tables and chairs, has been updated to improve testing.
The source of recalls fall into two categories, the notifying country and the country of origin (manufacture). The countries notifying the most recalls changes from year to year, and depends on the monitoring campaigns run by the authorities. In 2015, Spain has been the most active notifying country in the furniture sector.
With regard to the country of origin, almost half (46%) of the furniture products recalled in 2015 originated from China as Europe’s main furniture producing country.
Following a large increase in RAPEX furniture product recalls in 2013, when 19 products were recalled, the numbers for 2014 and 2015 have dropped and remained stable (12 and 11 recalls respectively).
Standardisation & Regulation
In addition to the abovementioned updates to existing furniture standards, the EU has also seen updates relating to deck chairs, storage and beds and mattresses:
Storage: EN 14749 was updated in March 2016 to include additional requirements for TV stands and hanging furniture, referring to EN 16122:2012 test methods.
Beds & mattresses: Work is in progress to update EN 1725 to take into account furniture that can be converted into a bed, and requirements for beds with storage. No publication date is available yet.
Deckchairs: France has introduced a new version of the standard for deckchairs, NF D 61-062:2015, to include new seat impact testing and maximum load testing. Published in 2015 and effective from December 2015, this standard was published to the JORF in February 2016.
SGS Furniture Services
More than standard testing, SGS adds value from the drawing board to the shop floor. Product design analysis, component and product testing, auditing, inspection and retail store checks all help to ensure that products are designed with safety and compliance in mind. In addition, our internal furniture technical committee, made up of experts from different locations, keeps our technical teams update to date with amendments to standards and regulations, as well as harmonising test procedures and interpretations across our network.
For more information about SGS services for the furniture industry, please contact your local SGS sales representative or contact our global team:
Global Furniture Expert
t: +33 6 20 09 86 14