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 some major flammability and trade descriptions issues identified in non-member products.
A total of 17 products were purchased and tested, including mattresses, sofabeds and headboards – 11 from NBF members and six from non-members. The products were tested, opened and examined.
All but one of the non-member products were found wanting, states the federation, with several major failures in both flammability testing results and trade description issues, with some advertised spring counts being over-stated and some fillings not being present in certain products at all. One mattress advertised as a ‘contract’ mattress meeting Crib 5 failed "so spectacularly that it had to be forcibly extinguished".
Results were shared with the retailers of the non-NBF member company products, enabling them to use the information to conduct their own investigations with their supplier.
There were also concerns with a few of the NBF member products, although in general these were minor issues around labelling and incorrect product descriptions on the retailers’ websites. All issues were discussed and resolved directly with the NBF members concerned.
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 onto the relevant trading standards office.
Since the NBF started its due diligence testing programme in 2018, it has examined over 130 products, split fairly equally between NBF members and non-members. Tristine Hargreaves, executive director at the NBF, comments: “The NBF due diligence testing programme was introduced to support the code of practice audits by checking that our members are continuing to meet their obligations on a day-to-day basis and not just at the time of an audit. Whilst there were some minor issues that we have been helping members resolve, it is pleasing to see there were no safety-related issues on NBF member products found during this round of purchases, which offers reassurance when buying from an NBF-approved member.
"The due diligence testing programme is a great way of benchmarking the overall industry levels of compliance of products placed on the market and it is disappointing to see that there are still issues with non-compliance to safety-related matters on the non-member side. We would encourage manufacturers to download the NBF best practice guidance on flammability testing that is available to all manufacturers, including non-members, as this is a very useful guide in helping to understand the requirements.”