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Monday, 20 April 2015 00:00

Bureau Veritas is helping window blind and window covering manufacturers comply with new EU safety requirements

RoSPA’s (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) own research shows that there have been at least 28 deaths across the UK due to looped cords since 1999 - 15 of which have occurred since the start of 2010. Back in August 2011, the European Commission issued a decision to address the safety of window blinds, imposing more stringent child safety requirements to achieve product compliance. This process led to the publication of the amended standard BS EN 13120:2009+A1:2014 in February 2014.

Bureau Veritas Consumer Products Services have been working closely with key stakeholders of the window blind industry and have developed testing capabilities to help manufacturers, importers and retailers demonstrate compliance to the amended standard which now in force. Its laboratory located in Warrington, Cheshire, is the only facility in the UK to offer testing to the standard (and one of the very few laboratories in Europe). In addition, Bureau Veritas offer risk assessments, technical consultancy and training solutions.

Since the publication of the amended standard, Bureau Veritas has received a surge in sample submissions and many manufacturers and retailers have already been guided through the changes by Bureau Veritas’ technical team. Christopher Dean, hardlines senior technologist at Bureau Veritas Consumer Products Services UK, comments:

“We endeavour to educate our customers and guide them through the testing process and standard interpretation at the laboratory. We hold regular group training seminars and bespoke one-to-one sessions if required. Customers are always welcome to visit the laboratory to discuss and to witness testing; we also offer technical guidance on the development of products. We specialise in addressing new designs that are not catered for in the standard, by means of applying our vast expertise and experience, coupled with applicable standards and requirements from other products, supported by risk assessments, all with the intention of demonstrating compliance to the GPSD (General Product Safety Directive) and high due-diligence in addressing the potential risks that may not have been verified by any published standard.

“The actual testing required for assessing the strangulation hazards of a blind doesn’t take very long and is reasonably priced if UV exposure is not applied. UV exposure itself can be costly but if you submit as many components as possible at once, great savings in time and cost can be made. Many of our clients will first ensure that their designs meet the strangulation requirements prior to proving any artificial ageing checks for actual materials used. The safety devices must be effective both before and after exposure to UV.

“A common misconception is that if one sample submitted to the laboratory passes, then the whole production is compliant. However, and this is true for all consumer products, ensuring that quality control and processes are in place at the factory level is key to make sure the production is consistent. If there are any doubts about the quality control process and the consistency of the production, then checking several samples might be a wise move.”

  • If you wish to test your products for safety and compliance, please contact us to find out more about our services, prices and turnaround time;
    email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;
    Tel: +44 (0)1925 854 360;
    Bureau Veritas.
 

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