FIRA and Trading Standards Confirm Flammability Requirements

FIRA and Trading Standards confirm flammability requirements for office work chairs used in a domestic environment

The shift in home working seen over the last 14 months was the basis for the latest guidance from the Furniture Industry Research Association, who worked with Trading Standards on flammability guidance for office chairs being used in a domestic environment. Entitled ‘Guidance for the contract furniture industry: Fire safety of office chairs in domestic environments’, both the Research Association and Trading Standards have now developed definitive guidelines to support the furniture industry in this complex topic.

The guidance covers four ‘scenarios’ and clarifies whether the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (FFFSR) would fully apply, alongside the role of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 in the case of:

• Legacy chairs (those marketed and supplied for contract use prior to pandemic/mass migration to home working)
• Chairs marketed as contract use, but could have been taken home
• Chairs knowingly to be sold for use in domestic environment
• Mesh only chairs or mesh parts of chairs (e.g. mesh backrests)

The scenarios were identified as the most common ones in urgent need of clarification for the sector by the Furniture Industry Research Association and Trading Standards, who also established a Working Group to ensure the scenarios and guidance produced was workable across stakeholders with differing perspectives, including furniture retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, designers and end-users. The full Working Group comprised representation from Allermuir, Allianz, Atkins Global, BASF, Boss Design, Camira Fabrics, Herman Miller, John Lewis and Orangebox.

In addition to a focus on the four scenarios, further sections offering support within the 19 page guidance document include:
• Summary guidelines for compliance
• What needs to be covered under the General Product Safety Regulations, including a definition of a ‘safe product’
• Labelling for permanent labels and display labels for chairs sold for domestic use
• Risk Assessment and accompanying notes
• Ignition source and probability contact with office task chair
• Flammability performance of mesh

The new ‘Guidance for the contract furniture industry: Fire safety of office chairs in domestic environments’ document is available to members of the Research Association via

New FIRA Gold Certification for Claremont Centre


STEVENAGE, UK – October 8, 2019– Designers and manufacturers of office furniture, Claremont Centre, have attained a new FIRA Gold Certification for their ‘Brae Sit Stand Desk’.

As part of the FIRA Gold Certification process the desks were subject to vigorous testing to BS EN 527-1:2011 Office furniture. Work tables and desks. Dimensions and also BS EN 527-2:2016+A1:2019 Office furniture. Work tables. Safety, strength and durability requirements.

Speaking on the new certification for their Brae Sit Stand Desk, John Fulton, Managing Director, at Claremont Centre said, “FIRA Gold is very important to our organisation. Designing and building durable furniture to an exceptional standards is at the core of everything we do here at Claremont Centre.


“Competitors may strive to meet our standards but FIRA Gold demonstrates that we’ve gone further though additional product testing and third party auditing of our manufacturing process by the experts at FIRA International. Through FIRA Gold, Claremont Centre customers receive peace of mind that our products will meet the needs of the most demanding workplace environments.”

Claremont Centre’s latest certification for the Brae Sit Stand Desk is in addition to their previous FIRA Gold’s attained for their Bench Lite Desk System – CCL Single Benches Office desking; Bench Lite Desk System – CCL Double Benches Office desking; A Frame Bench Desk System – CCL Single Benches Office desking; A FrameBench Desk System – CCL Double Benches Office desking; Bench Desk System – CCL Single Benches Office desking; Bench Desk System – CCL Double Benches Office desking; Framework Office Furniture – Universal Workstations Office desking; Framework Office Furniture – VDU Tables Office desking; Fast Track – Pedestals and Storage Units Office storage; Framework – Pedestals and Storage Units Office storage and also their ft2 range – Pedestals and Storage Units Office storage.

FIRA Gold is applicable to products or installation services and any product within the furniture industry can work towards FIRA Gold Certification, including final products or components. For further information on the certification scheme visit

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Whitemeadow Achieve ‘Certified Company’ Status Under FIRA Upholstery Compliance Scheme


Upholstery manufacturers, Whitemeadow, are the latest organisation to achieve ‘Certified Company’ status as part of the Furniture Industry Research Association’s ‘Compliance Scheme for the Fire Performance of Upholstered Furniture’.

The Compliance Scheme, which includes upholstery manufacturers, retailers and suppliers, was created by the Furniture Industry Research Association in response to a series of high profile media and enforcement investigation, including to a BBC Fake Britain programme entitled ‘Furniture Inferno’ which aired in 2014. This programme looked at the dangers of non-compliant furniture.

The Compliance Scheme was then developed, with industry feedback, to support those from across the upholstery industry in ensuring they have relevant processes and procedures in place to demonstrate due diligence in complying with the requirements of the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (FFFSR). Due to this, all Certified Companies are subject to an initial in-depth audit, which is then repeated annually to ensure compliance remains high.


Speaking on their new Certified Company status, Andy Pinder, Head of Quality, at Whitemeadow, said “As a key supplier to many of the UK’s largest Blue Chip multi-store and premium Independent retailers it’s important for us to not only offer great design and craftsmanship, but to back this up with the highest compliance and due diligence standards. That’s why as an organisation we decided to work towards becoming a Certified Company of the FIRA ‘Compliance Scheme for the Fire Performance of Upholstered Furniture’.

“The scheme is not only integral for the upholstery sector, but also for retailers and ultimately end customers, who rely on manufacturers such as Whitemeadow to ensure that industry standards remain high. Having this new Certified Status sends a strong message that we have procedures in place throughout our manufacturing process, from start to finish, to maintain compliance with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations.”

As a Certified Company of the Compliance Scheme, Whitemeadow will also benefit from Assured Advice from Hertfordshire Trading Standards. Advice will respected by other regulatory enforcement bodies, helping to prevent inconsistent interpretations of the FFFSR.

Full details on the Furniture Industry Research Association’s Compliance Scheme for the Fire Performance of Upholstered Furniture are available from

Furniture Industry Research Association and Baroness Warsi Host House of Lords Reception




On Tuesday 11th September the Furniture Industry Research Association held their 22nd annual reception at the House of Lords. For the second year running Baroness Warsi was once again the reception host.


The reception serves as a platform to celebrate the furniture industry; to welcome new members of the Research Association; acknowledge the achievements of organisations who have recently achieved FIRA Gold Certification, received a FIRA Ergonomics Excellence Award or become a Certified Company under the new FIRA Compliance Scheme for the Fire Performance of Upholstered Furniture; and to provide networking opportunities for the 250 guests from across the furniture industry.

As part of the reception guests had the opportunity to have a behind-the-scenes tour of the Houses of Parliament – which proved to be a highlight for many.

Speaking on the event, Charles Vernon, Chairman of the Furniture Industry Research Association, said “I would like to thank all our guests who attended the reception, and of course thanks go to Baroness Warsi for once again hosting us. As the only Research Association for the furniture sector it’s key that we hold events such as this to not only showcase our work but to also highlight the importance of the industry which we serve.


“As such, our annual reception gives a platform for many across the furniture industry to come together and celebrate the achievements of our members and others across the sector. It also gives the opportunity to acknowledge the work of the Research Association. We’ve undertaken a lot of projects over the last twelve months which garnered a lot of interest from our guests. Whilst this work has built on our regular content, for example around standards, we have also been exploring new areas such as bariatric standards, electrically actuated furniture and of course our recently launched ‘FIRA Compliance Scheme for the Fire Performance of Upholstered Furniture’.


“I look forward to the 2019 reception where we’ll be updating members on work from our current projects, and those planned, including work on flammability compliance and how technology can improve UK furniture productivity.”


Organisations from across the furniture supply chain who were recognised at the reception included:


FIRA Gold Product Certification

>        BA Clic Components

>        Siddall & Hilton

>        Vitafoam

>        Wade Spring


FIRA Gold Installation Certification

>        Imperial Office Furniture


FIRA Ergonomics Excellence Award

>        CBS

>        CMD Ltd

>        Fellowes

>        G Plan Upholstery


FIRA Compliance Scheme for the Fire Performance of Upholstered Furniture

>        DFS Manufacturing and DFS Retail

>        Lebus Upholstery

>        ScS


The Research Association confirmed that details on the 2019 reception would be released to invitees in due course.


Fellowes Professional Series Laptop Workstation Receives FIRA Ergonomics Excellence Award


The Professional Series Laptop Workstation from Fellowes has received an Ergonomics Excellence Award from FIRA International.


The recognises companies who design and manufacture ergonomically outstanding products, especially those that meet and generally exceed the requirements of British and European standards.

The FIRA International team found the workstation to have key ergonomic features, a standout one being its varied height adjustment functionality. With nine different height variations, the workstation enables users to reach an ideal height setting of their laptop screen to reduce flexion and protraction of the head and neck. It also includes a document holder at the front of the product to encourage in-line working negating the need for users to look down at their desk or elsewhere on their workstation. The product’s cable management USB hub system helps minimises clutter, resulting in a clearer desk.

Following the assessment of the Professional Series Laptop Workstation, Levent Caglar, Head of Ergonomics at FIRA International said, “Health and wellbeing are key to improving our life at work and at home. Even the smallest of changes, such as having the right workstation can make a big difference.


“In assessing the Professional Series Laptop Workstation, we were particularly impressed with how the height and angle on the unit was easy to adjust, and even at its maximum height setting, it felt very secure due to its design. The ease of use of the workstation should encourage users to start considering adjusting the position of their laptop screen throughout the day to suit the varied tasks they undertake. Small steps like this can reduce stress on the neck and back.”


Louise Shipley, European Business Team Manager for Workspace Management / Furniture at Fellowes, comments: “We are very pleased to see our Professional Series Laptop Workstation receive the FIRA Ergonomics Excellence Award. Our products are designed and developed around exactly what people need to work better and get the best out of their day. This award reflects how workspace ergonomics is becoming more of a priority and a preventative measure for common work-related ailments, for both – employees and employers.”

FIRA International also confirmed that the workstation met the applicable requirements of BS EN ISO 9241-5:1999 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs). Workstation layout and postural requirements.


Further details on the Fellowes Professional Series Laptop Workstation are available from, whilst has information on further FIRA ergonomic award holders.

​FIRA International Invests in Ergonomics




FIRA International has invested significant sums in new measurement equipment in order to offer enhanced ergonomic assessment services to the furniture industry supply chain, and to complement its current equipment base.
A newly purchased pressure mapping system has an active surface area of 81.28cm x 203.2cm and featuring 10,240 pressure sensors to show where products impact the body. Advanced software supplied with the equipment has the ability to provide test result images in both 2D and 3D. This helps manufacturers and designers assess pressure distribution and comfort for products such as mattresses, sofas, recliner sofas, task chairs etc.

Pressure mapping can also be used in conjunction with wider furniture testing services from FIRA International, such as durability tests, where products are subjected to years of use over a short period of time in order to gauge how well they will perform long-term. Pressure mapping before and after durability testing offers a comparison on comfort, and an indication as to how ergonomically sound the item will be after years of use.

FIRA International has also invested in an upgraded spinal tracing equipment which is the method Levent Çaglar, Senior Ergonomist at FIRA International has developed to assess performance of mesh back task chairs. FIRA will be proposing the use of this methodology for measuring lumbar adjustability of mesh chairs to the European Standards making body, CEN, for consideration in future European Standards. According to the Office for National Statistics almost 31 million days of work were lost in 2013 due to back, neck and muscle problems, costing the UK economy £14 billion a year, so it’s vital that furniture can be ergonomically assessed and tested to ensure it provides adequate support and promotes good posture. As such, the use of spinal tracing as part of ergonomic testing allows feedback on how chairs affect posture, assisting product development.

Speaking on the equipment investment, Levent Çaglar at FIRA International, said “this new investment helps us continually advance our ergonomic assessments and capabilities. The new kit will give our clients greater insight to how their customers will experience their products.

“The new pressure mat and spinal tracing mouse adds to our current equipment base, which includes measurement dummies for BS EN 1335 (Office furniture. Office work chair) and BS EN 1729 (Furniture. Chairs and tables for educational institutions), a glossmeter for measuring reflection on surfaces; alongside various dimensional testing kits for everything from high chairs to aeroplane seats.”

Further details on FIRA’s ergonomics services are available at

​New European Standard for furniture hardware published





The new European Standard covering requirements for the gas cylinders used in office chairs, and similar seating has been published.

The standard, BS EN 16955: 2017 Hardware for furniture – Tapered pressure tubes for self-supporting gas springs for the height adjustment of seating- Test methods and requirements for strength and durability, includes test methods for assessing the strength of gas cylinders based on different weights, uses and designs of seat.

In addition to the test methods, the standard also provides guidance on selection of the correct gas cylinder for the end use as well as how to mount gas cylinders safety.

For more information contact FIRA by email or tel 01438 777 700

CMD recognised for their ergonomics excellence

FIRA International have recognised CMD with an Ergonomics Excellence Award for their ‘Reach Spring Assisted Monitor Arm’. The Ergonomics Excellence Award identifies genuine ergonomic excellence across workplace and domestic furniture products.

To achieve the ergonomics award products are independently assessed by FIRA’s ergonomics department for ergonomic qualities; ergonomic design; whether the product is ergonomically and structurally fit for purpose; level of comfort and wellbeing for the user; compliance with relevant health and safety regulations; and ensuring the manufacturer has high quality standards and a good environmental policy.

Being spring assisted, the monitor arm’s tilt and position can be adjusted with little or no effort, allowing for numerous viewing angles and distances. Height adjustments result in the monitor arm being suitable for the sitting height of 5th to 95th percentile people. Whilst horizontal adjustments allow for a range of comfortable eye to monitor distances.

Speaking on the award, Levent Caglar, Head of Ergonomics at FIRA International, said “The team were very impressed with the assessment of CMD’s Reach Spring Assisted Monitor Arm. The range of movements, coupled with the ease of movement, make this a very ergonomically sound product. It’s vital for well-being that screen users can easily move the position of monitors to suit their tasks, and the spring assisted monitor arm gives this ability.

“As well as holding excellent ergonomic credentials, the arm also offers quality assurance; CMD hold ISO 14001:2004 (environmental management systems) and the arm is manufactured from recycled aluminium (42%), steel (32%) and plastic (5%).”

As part of the full criteria of Ergonomics Excellence, FIRA International also confirmed that the Reach Spring Assisted Monitor Arm had also met the applicable requirements of ‘BS EN ISO 9241-5:1999 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs). Workstation layout and postural requirements’. It also successfully fulfilled the ‘Level Severe’ requirements of FIRA’s structural integrity and durability test (PP 0045:2003).

The monitor arm joins over 21 products with a FIRA Ergonomics Excellence Award, including task seating, desking, computer accessories, mattresses and garden furniture.

Designers or manufacturers across the furniture supply chain who are keen to understand the ergonomic effectiveness of their products should email, call +44 (0)1438 777 700 or visit – which also includes a list of all current excellence holders.