Furniture for the home garden, restaurant patio or camping ground, is now the subject of a revised standard.
The 2017 version of EN 581-1 covers the safety checks to be carried out on outdoor seating and tables for camping, domestic and contract use. It is essential that all suppliers and buyers of this type of furniture ensure that products they are sourcing have been tested to minimise complaints regarding safety issues. EN 581-1:2017 has been listed in the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJEC) and, as such, is deemed to form part of the annex to the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD). This means that this harmonised safety standard can be used to evaluate outdoor furniture products and hence show compliance with the GPSD (so-called ‘presumption of conformity’).
The standard has been updated to address general safety requirements for outdoor furniture. For example, although the new standard still calls for edges to be rounded, it no longer gives a specific radius. It also changes the way in which gaps and holes are tested.
The main differences between the old and new standards are outlined below.
Clause 5 Safety requirements
- 5.3.3 Shear and squeeze points during use
This clause is similar to clause 3.3.4 from the 1997 version except that it now refers to EN 581-2:2015 and EN 581-3:2017 for the loads to be applied during testing to simulate normal use.
A chair would now be tested to all relevant strength tests in EN 581-2:2015 and monitored throughout to determine whether any shear and squeeze points are created.
Relevant tests include a seat and back static load test, simulating a heavy user (1,100N for camping seating, 1,600N for domestic seating and 2,000N for contract seating) sitting down and leaning back in the chair.
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