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Health & Consumer Protection Directorate General. EU initiatives to increase consumer fire safety 6th EFA Roundtable Paris, 1 February 2008 Gwenn Straszburger/ Antonella Correra Product and Service Safety unit. Presentation . Fire Safety in Hotel Other fire-safety initiatives

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Health & Consumer Protection Directorate General

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Health & Consumer Protection Directorate General

EU initiatives to increase

consumer fire safety

6th EFA Roundtable

Paris, 1 February 2008

Gwenn Straszburger/ Antonella Correra

Product and Service Safety unit


  • Fire Safety in Hotel

  • Other fire-safety initiatives

    • RIP cigarettes

    • Flammability of upholstered furniture

    • Flammability of nightwear

    • Child-resistant lighters

The EU regulatory context

  • Council Recommandation 1986

    • Defines minimum safety standards for all hotels in the Community (of a capacity of at least 20 guests) and

    • Recommends that MS take all appropriate measures to guarantee safety standards when existing laws are not sufficient

    • Technical guidelines: availability and accessibility of escape routes, structural stability of the building, flammability of the materials used, safe operation of technical equipment and appliances, alarms, safety instructions and plans of the premises, emergency fire-fighting equipment and staff training

The EU regulatory context ctd

  • Construction Product Directive

    • sets up specific requirements in the event of an outbreak of fire for all construction works, including hotels

    • decisions on the means of achieving safety in case of fire are exclusive MS competence

  • Low Voltage Directive

    • requirements of the Council Recommendation addressing the risks linked to electrical lighting have been implemented by the LVD

Where do we stand at EU level?

  • 2001 Report on the application of the Recommendation in MS:

    • contributed to increase the level of safety in hotels across the EU,

    • minimum safety standards were not fully achieved, certain MS have restricted its application to new hotels or new work on existing hotels

  • 20 years discussion on the issue of hotel safety – in particular as regards fire safety – with the MS and stakeholders

  • To date: no evidence supporting the case for action at EU level rather than for effective enforcement of national rules

  • No EU wide data and statistics

EU Wide Data Collection

  • Critical point: absence of statistical homogeneity in the way fire accidents are registered in the MS makes comparability a very difficult and inaccurate exercise

EU Wide Data Collection

  • Nibra: Nb. of fatalities per millions inhabitants per year: 10.8 in UK, 6 in Spain, 11.8 in France, 15.7 in Sweden and 7.3 in Germany

  • IDB:

    • 500.000 hospitalisations following injuries due to fire / burns in the EU

    • 111 "burn/scald" accidents in hotels leading to hospitalisation

    • extrapolation to EU27 level would yield: approx. 6.000 "burn/scald" accidents in hotels leading to hospitalisation occurred in the period 2002-2005 in the EU27 area, about 600 cases of which are related to "open fire and flames".

RAPEX- types of notified risks

Next Steps at EU level

  • Meeting M. Kuneva/Hotel representatives

  • Points to be discussed

    • Fire safety in hotels + identified pbs

    • Co-regulatory approach? Performance-based approach?

    • Other safety matters (swimming pool, fitness, etc.)

    • Consumer-related issues, e.g.: complaints, use of the internet for booking, satisfaction, etc.

    • Quality- star rating system?

  • Experts Working Group?

Other EU Fire Safety Initiatives

Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes (RIP)

  • The issue:

    • 1.000 fatalities/year in the EU as a result of fires caused by carelessly unattended cigarettes igniting upholstery or textiles in homes

    • Victimes are also non-smokers including children and fire-fighters

RIP cigarettes

Situation in the Member States, Norway and Iceland

  • Information to SANCO from 2005 to 2007

  • Cigarette-related fires registered in some Member States only - no data from several large Member States

  • Detailed fire cause not always entirely clear: Cigarette left alone or cigarette stub thrown away?

RIP cigarettes

Situation in the Member States, Norway and Iceland (cont’d)

  • Every year (14MS + Norway, Iceland)

    • 11,000 fires

    • 520 deaths and 1,600 injuries

    • €14 million material damage

  • Benefits of RIP cigarettes: prevention/year of:

    • 14,000 fires

    • 700 fatalities and 2,500 injuries

    • € 50 million damage

RIP cigarettes

Situation in the Member States, Norway and Iceland (cont’d)

  • EU Fire Safety Network: strongly favours RIP cigarettes

    • Athens1 27.11.07: « … the Commission’s proposals will therefore undoubtedly have a measurable impact on improving fire safety for EU’s citizens in a way that has not been possible through education and advice alone over many decades. »

RIP cigarettes

Economic and health impact

  • Price « increase » of cigarettes of 0.2% maximum

  • No change in consumers’ purchasing behaviour

  • Special « speed bump » paper available within 3 to 5 years

  • Not more toxic than conventional cigarettes

RIP cigarettes

Fire safety requirements for the EU

  • 29.11.07: MS approved a Commission proposal for a Directive to allow tobacco producers to sell only Reduced Ignition Propensity cigarettes.

  • COM adoption: March/April 2008

    • Safety requirement: No more than 25% of the cigarettes in the batch of cigarette specimens to be tested may burn through their whole length (= fail the test)

    • Ref. to ASTM E2187-04 in a recital

RIP cigarettes

Mandate to CEN

  • Draft Mandate reflecting the fire safety requirements

    • Advisory procedure in Directive 98/34/CE Committee

    • Reference to ASTM E2187-04 will be underlined when passing the mandate to CEN

    • Standard then provides the presumption of safety

Child-resistant/novelty lighters

  • All cigarette lighters placed on the market must be child-resistant and Novelty lighters can no longer be placed on the EU market as from 11 March 2007

  • On 12 April 2007, the Commission adopted Decision 2007/231/EC extending its validity until 11 May 2008 and adding the requirement that non-child resistant lighters and novelty lighters can no longer be sold to consumers from 11 March 2008 onwards.

Lighters (Ctd)

  • Why this Decision on lighters?

    • Cigarette lighters are consumer products which are inherently hazardous, since they produce a flame or heat, and contain a fuel. They pose a serious risk when misused by children.

    • 1500 and 1900 injuries and 34 to 40 fatalities per year in the EU are due to fire-related accidents caused by children playing with lighters. The introduction of child-resistance requirements in the US brought about a 60% reduction in the number of such accidents.

Novelty lighters: examples

Child-Resistant Lighters: Revised Standard

  • EN 13869: requirements for determining whether a lighter is child resistant

  • COM is working on a revision of the standard to minimise the need for child panel testing of lighters


Fire Safety in Hotels / Data collection:

Standardisation- Flame retardants:

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