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HSE SAFETY ALERT: STONE FIREPLACE DESIGN AND FIXING

Warning from regulators follows death of young children

Safety Alert Bulletin FOD 2-2013 has been issued by HSE regarding risks to home occupiers from the installation of modular, stone and artificial stone fireplace surround.

The alert follows “several instances” where heavy stone components forming part of a modern fireplace surround have fallen causing damage and injury. The incidents have happened because the fireplaces were not securely, mechanically fixed in place.

In two, separate accidents this type of incident resulted in the death of two young children. The fireplace surrounds had been installed and in use in the family home for a matter of months before the fatal accidents. Further research has shown, that there have been, over a number of years, several other fatalities to children. The Stone Federation of Great Britain has recently revised its guidance on safe installation of fire place surrounds.

Action required of various parties
  • Design – designers of modular stone fireplace surrounds should ensure that their design incorporates or includes fixings or fixing kits that are suitable for a range of locations and able to be installed onto a variety of floor and wall types. This may include dense and lightweight masonry and timber frame.
  • Information – manufactures and suppliers should ensure that adequate information is provided to installers to safely assemble and install the fireplace surround (see alert for full details); and
  • Standards – designers, manufacturers, suppliers and installers attention is drawn to the Stone Federation of Great Britain guidance on Fireplace Surrounds

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