Planning to import and sell furniture in Hong Kong? In this guide, we explain what you must know about the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance, furniture fire safety standards, product testing, and much more.
- Domestic seating
- Outdoor tables
- Bed bases
- Upholstered mattresses
Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance
The Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance is a general safety ordinance that applies to many consumer products manufactured in or imported to Hong Kong, including furniture.
The Ordinance establishes general safety requirement principals for several categories of consumer products, including furniture items, to be safe and do not cause harm to the consumers under proper usage.
General Safety Requirements
The Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance does not specify any specific requirements or standards for furniture items.
Note that, even though your furniture is not covered by any specific standards, the Ordinance still requires it to be safe. Thus, as explained on the Ordinance’s “Advice for Traders”, it’s in the seller’s best interest to take any step that might help to assess and ensure product safety, including testing against voluntary standards.
Furniture Safety Standards
Even if no standards are explicitly mentioned in the Ordinance, Hong Kong businesses importing and selling furniture may still choose to follow established EN, ASTM, and ISO standards. Here are some relevant furniture standards mentioned by SGS Hong Kong – which is HOKLAS accredited:
a. BS EN 1022 – Furniture. Seating. Determination of stability
b. BS EN 581-1 – Outdoor furniture. Seating and tables for camping, domestic, and contract use. General safety requirements
c. BS EN 581-2 – Outdoor furniture. Seating and tables for camping, domestic, and contract use. Mechanical safety requirements and test methods for seating
The Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance requires that the labeling of all consumer products must be written in both Chinese and English.
Fire Services Department Circular Letter No. 1/2000
The Fire Services Department Circular Letter No. 1/2000 announced the adoption of several British Standards and their international equivalents, as the flammability testing standards for Polyurethane (PU) Foam filled mattresses and upholstered furniture in Hong Kong suitable for licensed premises and public areas.
According to the circular letter, all PU foam-filled furniture to be used in public premises such as restaurants, hotels, schools, and more, shall meet the specified standards.
Further, as the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance mandates that your furniture products must be safe, including against fire hazards, you can enhance the safety of your products by testing them against one or more fire safety standards, even though you don’t plan to sell your product to a licensed premise or public establishment.
Fire Safety Standards
Here is a list of fire safety standards mentioned in the Circular letter No. 1/2000:
a. BS 7176 – Specification for resistance to ignition of upholstered furniture for non-domestic seating by testing composites
b. BS EN 1021-1 Furniture. Assessment of the ignitability of upholstered furniture. Ignition source smoldering cigarette
c. BS EN 1021-2 – Furniture. Assessment of the ignitability of upholstered furniture. Ignition source match flame equivalent
d. BS 7177 – Specification for resistance to ignition of mattresses, mattress pads, divans and bed bases
e. BS EN 597-1 – Furniture. Assessment of the ignitability of mattresses and upholstered bed bases. Ignition source smoldering cigarette
BS 7176, BS 7177, and their equivalent international standards develop performance requirements for the PU foam filled mattresses and upholstered furniture and classified 4 hazard categories depending on the flammability performance to ‘low hazard’, ‘medium hazard’, ‘high hazard’, and ‘very high hazard’.
For example, low hazard upholstered furniture is commonly used in offices and schools, medium hazard furniture is commonly used in restaurants, hospitals and hostels, high hazard in off-shore installations, and very high hazards in prisons.
The Fire Services Department Circular Letter No. 1/2000 requires manufacturers, importers, or suppliers to provide:
a. An invoice or explanatory document with company seal demonstrating the compliance of the furniture
b. A copy of the testing certificate indicating the materials used in the furniture is compliant with applicable standards
The Circular Letter No. 1/2000 provides examples of labels – see appendices III an IV, – and requires that the size of the label of the PU foam-filled furniture must be adjusted accordingly so that the label can be safely and firmly affixed to the furniture item.
Manufacturers or importers of furniture items must ensure the safety and compliance of their products by having their products tested by HOKLAS approved labs before these products enter the market.
The following are labs that are approved by HOKLAS, all of which provide lab testing services for furniture:
- API Lab Testing
- SGS Hong Kong
- UL VS Hong Kong
Lab testing companies generally also keep track of changes to existing standards, and if new testing requirements are added by the Hong Kong-government.