Non-compliant mattress

Member Article

Silentnight Group urges bed industry to “clean up its act”

The UK’s No1 bed manufacturer, Silentnight Group, has launched a national awareness campaign to expose potential “death trap” mattresses that exist in homes across the UK.

All brands and products manufactured by the group, from Silentnight, Sealy, Rest Assured, Layezee, Perfecta and Pocket Spring Bed Company comply fully with UK legal requirements and statutory standards.

The manufacturer is calling for the industry to “clean up its act”, supporting the National Bed Federation’s new Code of Practice. At the same time the manufacturer is urging retailers “not to take risks with their business” by making sure that they only ever buy products that have been tested properly.

To highlight the potential life-threatening danger to consumers, Silentnight Group has developed a hard-hitting educational video (www.silentnightgroup.co.uk/fire-safety-video) with an independent testing authority, to emphasise the importance of buying products that conform to UK Fire Regulations.

The video and fire safety message will be communicated to consumers via a national public relations drive, supported with a dedicated outreach programme to showcase the video footage to retailers.

The video compares the difference in a controlled burn test of a compliant Silentnight mattress to that of a non-compliant (imported) mattress bought online from a UK retailer.

Whereas the compliant Silentnight mattress fails to ignite, the non-compliant mattress sets alight and within three minutes is filling the room with deadly toxic fumes.

After six minutes the room is completely ablaze. Given the average time for firefighters to reach a fire is nine minutes, the consequences are strikingly clear.

The latest fire statistics, collated by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which runs the ‘Fire Kills’ campaign, reinforce the importance of customers being vigilant about the bed products they buy.

Fires that started in bedrooms accounted for 8.8 per cent (3,315) of the 37,601 total accidental fires in dwellings in Great Britain in 2011/12 but claimed a much higher proportion of casualties.

They were responsible for 70 (or 28.7 per cent) of the 244 total fatalities, equivalent to 21 deaths per 1,000 fires – with only fires that started in living rooms, dining rooms or lounges having a higher fatality rate.

They also accounted for 15 per cent (1,162) of the total 7,729 non-fatal injuries, the second-highest number behind kitchen fires (61 per cent).

Furthermore, bedroom blazes claim a higher ratio of non-fatal casualties than fires started in other rooms (351 per 1,000 fires, compared with 292 per 1,000 for living room/dining room/lounge fires and 201 per 1,000 for kitchen fires).

The 2011/12 figures for all types of fires show that 13 (out of 287) deaths and 228 (out of 8926) injuries were caused by beds and mattresses first being ignited.

But examining fires when beds and mattresses were “mainly responsible”, they accounted for 2.2% of dwelling fires in 2010/11 (the latest figures available) and 13.7% of deaths.

Silentnight Group has invested heavily in its own in-house testing laboratory, which has been operational since 1980, and places the utmost importance on quality and assurance. This year alone it has performed 977 flammability tests on incoming raw materials and 2,778 flammability tests on finished products. Fire test certification is also retained for all models and available for inspection by all retailers.

Steve Freeman, Managing Director for Silentnight Group, said: “Many beds and mattresses are simply a death trap - this is an issue that the industry can not shy away from and urgent action must be taken to ensure that UK consumers are not unknowingly being put at risk.

“We all saw the impact that the horse meat scandal had on the frozen food ready meal market with the negative impact and bad publicity that it had on the named retailers involved in selling these items. Clearly we do not want the same to happen within our industry, but unless we take action now - going into Christmas especially - this is exactly the situation we could find ourselves in.”

A recent project by Trading Standards has highlighted an alarming scale of non-conformance to UK FR Regulations.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Silentnight .

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