The Office Chair Quality and Safety Rating In China

About the Rating for Office Chair Quality and Safety in China

How to evaluate the grades of hazardous substances?

How to regulate the safety performance of office chairs with gas springs?

China National Furniture Association released the “Office Chair Quality and Safety Rating” draft for comments (hereinafter referred to as the “Draft for Comments”) in public. This is the first time that office chair quality and safety have been classified into three levels: A, B, and C.

“Due to the low barriers to entry for production, the profit of the office chair industry is getting lower and lower in the homogeneous competition.

The products produced by some small enterprises with lower quality levels are difficult to meet the assembly and quality requirements of office chairs. And that seriously hinders the development of the industry.” The personnel of relevant units participating in the formulation of the standard introduced to the reporter of “Government Procurement Information” the following content. 

The establishment of the office chair quality and safety rating project is a further continuation and expansion of the quality supervision of office furniture products. It will guide office furniture companies to actively carry out product design improvement and innovation. And get them help improve the quality and efficiency of the management work of relevant government regulatory agencies.

Grading assessment for hazardous substance limit

The content of harmful substances in furniture is an extremely important quality indicator. And the current furniture product standards have made relevant requirements for the limits of harmful substances in furniture.

The “Draft for Comments” not only added the limit of harmful substances for textiles and leather, but also classified the content of harmful substances involved in these two materials.

In textile inspection items, as a basic inspection item, decomposable carcinogenic aromatic amine dyes are banned. The formaldehyde content is  a graded inspection item, and the A-level requirement is ≤20mg/kg.

In the leather product inspection item, as a basic inspection item, azo dyes are banned. While the free formaldehyde is designed as a graded inspection item, and the A-level requirement is ≤5mg/kg.

Because the armrests, backrest frame and five-star base of office chairs are often made of plastic materials, the “Draft for Comments” adjusts the limit of harmful substances in plastic furniture to basic inspection items.

Also, it requires that the limit of hazardous substances in plastics should meet the following requirements. That is the “Limit of Hazardous Substances in Plastic Furniture GB28481—2012”. So that it can ensure the quality and safety of office chairs.

Strengthen the inspection of gas spring office chairs

In various places, the market supervision departments issue a product quality spot check reports. There is a disclosure of the item of “the safety performance of office chairs with gas springs are unqualified”. And the so-called “unqualified safety performance” usually refers to a lack of isolation between the base and the gas spring in office chairs.

Because when the gas spring explodes, the steel plate or bottom plate used for isolation can effectively prevent the gas spring from breaking through the seat surface. But if this isolation measure is missing, the exploded gas spring will directly cause harm to the user.

For the safety performance test of office chairs with gas springs, the “Draft for Comments” adjusts the wall thickness of gas springs (inner tube, outer tube and vertical tube) as the basic inspection items.

The types of isolation measures between the seat bottom surface and the gas spring are designed as basic safety inspection items. And it is divided into three levels.

Among them, Class A means that steel plates or tilt mechanism with a thickness greater than 2.0mm should be used for isolation.

While Class B means that steel plates or tilt mechanism with a thickness of 2.0mm should be used for isolation.

And Class C means that steel plates or tilt mechanism with a thickness of not less than 2.0mm should be used for isolation.

Other important information about office chair gas spring inspection

It is worth mentioning that, to improve the accuracy and validity of the test methods results, the “Draft for Comments” will adopt a vernier caliper or a micrometer. So as to measure the thickness of the isolation plate and the three parts. Besides, it’s to calculate the average value, and modify it to approximately 0.1mm.

Most of the time, with a quick tour for the production facilities for the gas spring, you will have an idea of what kind of quanlity the manufacturer may provide.

“Regarding furniture design, especially when designing office furniture, European countries attach great importance to the research on quality and safety rating issues. 

In recent years, China’s attention to the quality of office furniture has also risen to the level of quality and safety rating.”  The personnel of relevant units participating in the formulation of standards told the reporter. 

The revision of the group standard of “Office Chair Quality and Safety Rating” will urge the office chair parts manufacturers to:

  • research products with higher safety performance
  • make good tactical arrangements in the fierce competition.

Source:

Furniture Weekly: Government Procurement Information Report/August 9, 2021/Version 015

Trainee reporter Kong Xiangni

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