Health and safety is a big issue that public institutions face. Living in the UK, we are used to setting examples worldwide of how developed countries can keep their citizens safe.
We have several pieces of legislation and various guidelines that detail safety standards and go in depth as to how we can prevent accidents such as fire. So it may come as a surprise to know that the majority of noticeboards and display boards in schools and nurseries actually are not fully fire retardant and pose a big risk due to their flammable properties.
The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 legislature states that manufacturers have a duty to only supply safe products, but those standards of safety sometimes differ. Labour MP, David Drew, raised the issue in Parliament, stating that a lot of noticeboards in schools meet the European safety standard classification E which is the lowest rating.
An E classification means that the materials used will only be able to resist flames for a very short amount of time – roughly 20 seconds. They are highly flammable and contribute heavily to the growth and spread of a blaze.
The Stroud MP suggested that all notice boards used in schools, nurseries, care homes and the like should meet the European classification B. The B classification is for materials that contribute very little to the growth and spread of a fire. They also take longer to catch light – roughly 60 seconds.
Whilst a large proportion of notice boards rank poorly by European standards, they don’t rate so low by British standards which is where a lot of the confusion can come from.
Adding to the problem is that some suppliers of educational furniture and noticeboards aren’t clear on which of their displays are fire retardant and which aren’t.
Here at Early Learning Furniture, we are proud to stock our Flameshield noticeboards. They have European and British fire rated classifications of BS476, Class 0 & BSEN13501 and B-s1-d0. Both results are the highest attainable in the industry.
These are always the ones our sales team recommend to people buying noticeboards on behalf of public institutions – especially schools - because of the increased safety standards.
We never falsely advertise noticeboards that don’t come with a fire certification and we always make it explicitly clear which ones have a higher safety rating that others. Giving our customers all of the information they need to make an informed buying decision is at the forefront of what we do at ELF.
Noticeboards outside of our Flameshield range still adhere to the British fire safety standards, meaning they are still considered legally fit to be placed in schools and nurseries. This is because they are covered with fire-rated felt. This means the felt itself is fire retardant but the backing behind it isn't. This is the difference between regular noticeboards and Flameshield noticeboards; on our Flameshield range the backing is fire retardant too.
Despite this, we are in favour of anything that increases the standards of safety in schools and nurseries and so we welcome any new recommendations or legislations that may come into force in the future.
If you would like any more information about our range of notice boards, please contact us or call us on 01733 511121.