UK funeral directors are being urged to ensure the coffins they supply are formally accredited in a bid to protect the public from potentially inferior products.
Alun Tucker, Chief Executive of the Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers Association (FFMA), said the growing range of online and direct sales meant families couldn’t always be certain of coffins meeting the requirements of crematoria.
The FFMA has developed a universally-recognised accreditation scheme, the Test Protocol, which is seen as the industry standard, and ensures coffins are accepted at sites across the UK. Funeral directors who only supply coffins tested by the Association should be sure of avoiding any problems on the day of the funeral.
“In recent years, with the rise of DIY funerals and online sales, there has been an increase in people buying direct from suppliers. Not all of these submit their coffins to us for testing and we, therefore, cannot vouch for their ability to carry a deceased person safely and with dignity.
“We fear that the public is potentially being exposed to inferior products and ask funeral directors to work with us to ensure families aren’t placed in the distressing situation of having a coffin being refused at a crematorium or the product malfunctioning at a funeral,” Mr Tucker said.
Funeral directors can check whether the coffins they are offering are accredited by visiting this page of the FFMA’s website.
The FFMA Test Protocol is built around nine strict tests, including strength, charging, ignition, ash residue, leakage and handling.
For example, if a coffin distorts during autocharging it will fail the test. Likewise, in the leakage test, during which a cone of material is filled with fluid, the coffin will not make the grade if it doesn’t retain the liquid.
The scheme was developed by FFMA members, many of whom are coffin manufacturers, with the support of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and the Association of Private Crematoria and Cemeteries.
For further information about the FFMA Testing Protocol please visit https://ffma.co.uk/test-protocol.