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New Standard for Large Occupant Public and Lounge Seating: ANSI/BIFMA X5.41-2021

SafeGuardSHome Furnishings and HousewareJuly 13, 2021

BIFMA has released a new ANSI approved standard codified as ANSI/BIFMA X5.41-2021– Large Occupant Public and Lounge Seating Standard. This standard is based on the existing X5.4 (Public and Lounge Seating) standard with respect to larger occupants.

On June 2, 2021, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved the new safety and performance standard ANSI/BIFMA X5.41-2021, Large Occupant Public and Lounge Seating. The BIFMA engineering committee worked with industry stakeholders to release the new seating standard for large occupants.

Lounge and public seating are normally used in indoor public spaces, such as waiting, reception, or gathering areas. Such seating includes products with single seat units, units with multiple seating positions within one unit or ganged seating units. Public and lounge seating products are generally not adjustable for personal use.

ANSI/BIFMA X5.41-2021 has two performance levels. The 400 lb user is the basis for ANSI/BIFMA X5.41-2021(400 lb) tests and the 600 lb user is the basis for ANSI/BIFMA X5.41-2021 (600 lb). Additionally, ANSI/BIFMA X5.41-2021 (400 lb) specifies a minimum seat width of 22 inches, while ANSI/BIFMA X5.41-2021 (600 lb) cites a minimum of 26 inches.

Consistent with related standard ANSI/BIFMA X5.4-2020 (Public and Lounge Seating), this large occupant standard cites many of the same methodologies with modifications to loads and forces which are representative of larger occupants. Unlike other BIFMA standards, those with the Large Occupant designation have design specific requirements.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of 2011-2014 determined that a greater than 99th percentile person weighs between 400 lb and 600 lb. These two basis weights were used in the development of the test methodologies contained within ANSI/BIFMA X5.41.

ANSI/BIFMA X5.41 defines specific tests, laboratory equipment, conditions of tests, and recommended requirements for evaluation of the performance, durability, and structural adequacy of the seating units.

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