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BS EN 581 safety requirements for furniture: laboratory or on-site tests?

AQF_norme de sécurité BS EN 581 pour le mobilier selon le Quality Control Blog

When purchasing furniture the European importers should strictly follow the BS EN 581 safety requirements for furniture however how can they make sure the goods purchased are conformed to this European norm? Tests in laboratories are compulsory in this case even though some of the tests can also be performed during a furniture inspection.

About the BS EN 581 standard

The BS EN 581 is specific for outdoor furniture: seating and tables for camping, domestic and contract use for adults, without regard to materials, design/construction or manufacturing processes. This standard defines the mechanical safety requirements and test methods for this product category in three parts:

  • Part 1: General safety requirements
  • Part 2: Mechanical safety requirements and test methods for seating
  • Part 3: Mechanical safety requirements and test methods for tables

Why only laboratories can provide the BS EN 581 safety requirements for furniture certificate

Notified bodies are the only ones well equipped, with the right testing machines, well calibrated, to ensure the most reliable testing result. Moreover most of the tests to be performed are taking a lot of time which a QC does not have when performing an inspection in one day.

Example of tests performed by laboratories is the

  • Strength tests for chairs, benches, sofas…
  • Seat impact for chairs, sofas…
  • Static loading for tables

On-site tests during a furniture inspection related to the BS EN 581 safety requirements

During the inspection, some on-site tests are following the BS EN 581 safety requirements. They are the ones that are taking the less time. However, to be able to perform those on-site tests, the supplier should provide the right testing equipment to the QC inspector (the buyer should carefully check those details before sending the QC to the factory).

Example of on-site tests that can be performed during a furniture inspection:

  • Static loading test (the buyer should specify his requirements in term of load capacity)
  • Clearance check
  • Assembly check
  • Real performance check

And you: did you know about the limitation of on-site tests related to BS En 581 safety requirements for furniture?

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