Coffin testing reaches new level


A quality assurance scheme run by the UK’s principal trade association representing the coffin manufacturing sector is on course to hit a product testing milestone in 2021.

The Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers’ Association (FFMA)’s Coffin and Casket Protocol is expected to achieve 180 coffins assessed for strength and quality in the coming months.

Since launching in 2016, the Protocol has been deployed to test 170 products made by the Association’s 60 plus members, who comprise a high percentage of the British coffin making sector. Coffin materials checked under the Protocol range from oak veneer and wicker to picture coffins and cardboard.

The aim of the testing scheme is to ensure coffins, caskets and even shrouds are safe for use in both cremation and burial settings, bringing peace of mind to bereaved families, crematoria and burial ground operators and funeral directors.

And with the rise of online coffin sales on e-marketplaces, the need to uphold quality standards has never been greater.

FFMA Chief Executive Alun Tucker said the Protocol had become the universal kitemark for quality in coffins.

“We’re incredibly pleased with how the scheme has embedded itself within the sector as the standard for quality assurance in just a few short years. And with 170 products tested so far, we can be confident that the majority of coffin and casket ranges presented for funerals in the UK are of exceptionally good build quality.

“This is essential to families, who need to know that the products supplied for a loved one’s final journey will perform as intended. It’s also a vital health and safety issue for funeral directors and employees at crematoria, cemeteries and burial grounds. The last thing anyone wants is a coffin or casket igniting too soon during charging at a crematorium, or the base collapsing whilst lowering into a grave.

With the FFMA’s Protocol, everyone involved in the funeral can be assured that an accredited coffin is a safe and dignified coffin,” Mr Tucker said.

He also thanked Intertek, the London-headquartered international inspection and product testing specialist, which has conducted independent testing on behalf of the FFMA.

Under the Protocol, there are nine tests. These cover strength, leakages, excess ash, handle breakage and ignition to name but a few.