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NBF reveals random testing results

NBFtesting19The National Bed Federation’s first round of random product testing has shown the divergence between products from members and non-members, but not all members’ products were problem free.

Some 49 products were purchased: 24 from NBF members and 25 from non-members. They were a mixture of mattresses, headboards, divan sets and upholstered bed frames. Each product was subject to relevant flammability tests, then cut open and specifications checked against marketing claims. 

On flammability, 19 NBF member products and 14 non-member products passed with no issues. Five NBF products were classed as borderline, with fail tests on mattresses not able to be repeated while those on headboards had used compliant production materials along with test histories and evidence of purchasing the correct materials from suppliers. All 11 failures from non-members were clear cut with issues such as match test failure on non-sleeping surface, fillings that failed the relevant tests and a contract mattress failing crib 5 testing (pictured).

On trade descriptions, major issues were identified on 11 non-members’ products and four members’ products. These ranged from overstating spring counts, claiming the presence of fillings materials that were not present at all and, in one case, evidence of a used spring unit where none was identified in labelling or marketing materials. In several cases, there were multiple failings on flammability and trade descriptions. 

Where issues were identified with members’ products, further investigations and site visits pointed to the reasons being mistakes rather than deliberate, according the NBF. Further checks and purchases will be made to ensure they are resolved. In some cases, the issues identified were due to incorrect product details being advertised by the retailer rather than the manufacturer.

‘These significant flammability failures do raise concerns about the safety of those products on the market and we have of course reported these and all our findings to trading standards,’ says Tristine Hargreaves, NBF technical manager. All results were also shared with the companies involved, and in some cases via the retailer or online platform from which products were purchased. 

‘All along, 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 is being met,’ says Jessica Alexander, NBF executive director. 

‘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 will continue to work with our members where improvements are needed and investigate further if we are led to believe there could be any issues with a member’s products. At the same time the audit process that underpins our Code of Practice becomes more demanding – this time around all audits are semi-unannounced, with any follow-up audits found necessary fully unannounced.’

A further 50 products will be purchased for testing during the year.