Consumer and Product Safety

Product Labelling

Some products must be labelled in certain ways to show that they are either safe or to let you know of the potential hazards they contain.

Toys

lion-mark-ce-toysBy law all toys sold in the UK must show the CE mark. For larger toys this should be on the product itself, although it may be on the packaging of smaller toys. With this mark the manufacturer self-certifies that the product complies with European and British rules on toy safety. You can find out more about the CE mark here.

Some toys may also use the Lion Mark, which tells consumers that the manufacturer follows the British Toy and Hobby Association code of practice and helps certify that the toy meets the requirements of BS EN 71 (the British legislation designed to ensure all toys made in the UK are safe).

You can find out more about toy safety and labelling in this guide produced by the BSI (pdf), and check out more toy safety guidance here (pdf).

Sofas, Armchairs & Furniture

furniture-labelIn the past, many deadly fires were caused by dangerous materials used in sofas, armchairs and other furniture. Smouldering cigarettes resulted in infernos, while even small furniture fires could become lethal due to the toxic fumes released.

As a result, legislation was brought in to ensure only fire resistant materials are used in sofas, armchairs and other furniture. For example, foam and fillings must meet specified ignition requirements, whilst upholstery must be cigarette resistant.

By law most furniture must be labelled to certify that it is fire retardant, as well as giving an indication of its level of fire resistance.

It is illegal to sell things such as sofas and armchairs that do not have their fire safety information prominently and permanently labelled. This is particularly important if you are buying (or selling) second-hand furniture, as a lack of a label may mean you are buying a death-trap. All upholstered furniture made after 1950 must be permanently labelled as fire-resistant – and it must actually be fire resistant – or it cannot be sold, even second-hand. Find out more in our leaflet, ‘Selling safe used furniture’.

Food Labelling

For more information about the labelling on food, please click here.

Electric Blankets

electric-safety-marksWhen choosing your electric blanket, you should buy it from a reliable source. Check that it has a UK safety standard mark (see right). This is a symbol that means the blanket has been independently tested and meets the latest UK and European safety standards. Further detail on electrical blankets can be found on the directgov archive.

Hazardous Chemicals

chemical-hazard-labelsBy law, all hazardous chemicals contained within a product must be marked as such. You may see some products marked with orange and black hazard symbols, although since 2009 a new system has been coming into use, which features black and white images within a red diamond.

You can find out more about chemical labelling, as well as the new hazard symbols, at the Understand The Label website.