The National Bed Federation (NBF) says its latest round of due diligence finished product testing continues to highlight the benefits of the association’s audited code of practice, with several major flammability and trade descriptions issues identified in non-member products – but none in products bought from members.
During 2021, a total of 21 mattresses, headboards, and mattress toppers were purchased – 11 from members and 10 from non-members. The products were tested, opened and examined.
The investigations carried out on the NBF member products showed that there were no major concerns regarding appropriate levels of due diligence testing being conducted for flammability and no major issues in relation to trade descriptions.
Some areas for improvement were identified, states the association, such as the need for continuity of process control where staff are rotated onto other duties due to staff shortage through Covid outbreaks, and the need to ensure full training is provided for staff covering other people’s work, along with the need for internal departments to work closer together in the decision-making process. All issues were discussed and resolved directly with the NBF members concerned.
Conversely, the results for the non NBF member products showed several major failures in both flammability testing results and trade description issues, with some advertised fillings not being present in certain products at all, states the NBF. All results have been shared with the retailers of the non-NBF member company products so they can use this information to conduct their own investigations. In each case, the results were communicated to the retailer from where the products were purchased, suggesting they discuss the findings with their suppliers.
The findings on all products, NBF member and non-NBF member, are also shared with the NBF’s Primary Authority Partner, West Yorkshire Trading Standards, which will investigate further where appropriate or pass the details to the relevant trading standards office.
Since the NBF started its Due Diligence Testing Programme in 2018, it has examined over 110 products, split equally between NBF members and non-members.
Jessica Alexander, executive director at the NBF, comments: “From its inception, our code of practice has been about reassuring customers that what they are buying from NBF members is safe, clean and honest. People can’t look inside a mattress to see what’s there or set light to it to see if it burns – they have to take on trust what they are told. The due diligence programme is a further check to try to ensure compliance beyond audit day.
“It’s gratifying to see members performing so much better than non-members, particularly on safety issues, but there is still work to be done. We continue to work with our members where improvements are needed, and investigate further if we are led to believe there could be any procedural issues.”