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Child safety warning

New standards for child safety and internal blinds have been approved and scheduled for publication around February/March 2014.

 

After an increasing number of child fatalities around the world involving looped blinds cords, the EU issued a Decision in July 2011, which mandated CEN to revise EN 13120 to meet the requirements of the Decision. This will be mandated under the General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR) (and so have the force of law).

The regulations will apply to all EU countries and includes homes and public buildings (churches, offices, nurseries, shops, hospitals, schools etc) where children (0-42 months) may be found.

There are a number of revisions concerning child safety and internal blinds that everyone (designers, manufacturers, importers and installers) within the supply chain of internal blinds will have to comply with.

Child safe internal blinds

Unlike the current EN 13120:2009 standard, the revisions are applicable to ALL internal blinds (venetian, roller, vertical, roman, pleated, honeycomb, Austrian, panel, roll-up blinds and shutters etc) that have cords, chains or loops that could potentially form hazardous loops – no matter the design or materials used. Although not in the scope of the revised EN 13120, Trading Standards may apply the standards to draperies, insect screens and integral blinds for the same reason.

Safety devices must be pre-installed if they are non-integral to the product (e.g. cleats). Furthermore, window coverings should not pose any risk of injury to a child, including the risk of any small parts that could potentially cause internal asphyxiation. Cord lengths (dependant on various factors) will also be determined in the revised EN 13120.

It is very important to note that while consumers may request the use of non-compliant window coverings, it is still the responsibility of the installer to ensure compliance with EN 13120 under the GSPR.

While the updated version of EN13120 is not retrospective, if installing new internal blinds into premises, it is recommended to check existing blinds for compliance and make the existing blinds safer.

Warning labels

Product safety information such as warning notices and name/trademark of the manufacturer/importer or installer (whichever is applicable) must be displayed on the product. The information from the warning notices must be displayed at the point of sale, on the package and product as well as contained within any information leaflet that is supplied with a product. There are a number of warnings that must be contained within the product safety information, all of which will be clearly stated in the revised edition of EN 13120. The size and content of warning notices is a mandatory requirement.

Test method standards

The ultimate responsibility rests with whichever part of the supply chain puts the product onto the market. If purchased as a complete product, the responsibility for testing and compliance with EN 13120 lies with the manufacturer/supplier. If an internal blind is not a complete blind system upon purchase, the responsibility shifts to whoever assembles the final product.

In addition to the amendments of EN 13120:2009, two new test method standards – EN 16433 and EN 16434 will also be introduced. EN 16433 tests the operation of an internal blind in association with the safety devices. EN 16434 is a test for the safety devices.

Anyone in the industry that is not up to speed with the upcoming mandatory standards should make it a priority. It has not yet been decided whether the implementation of EN 13120 will be effective immediately upon publication as the Minister advised last year, or whether there will be a short grace period. Copies of the revised EN 13120 will be available from the BSI when it is published.

Blinds & Shutters will post updates on the website as and when information is released.

For more information:

BBSA

BSI

CEN

Trading Standards

 

 

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