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Coffin Certification scheme finalised

The Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers’ Association (FFMA) has confirmed details of its long-awaited accreditation scheme.

The association has been liaising closely with the cremation sector to develop a scheme that ensures all coffins presented for cremation are fit for purpose.  

This was prompted by an increase in reports from crematoria about potentially dangerous incidentscaused by coffins failing, or not behaving as expected, when auto-charged and cremated. There were concerns that staff health and safety could be put at risk and the security, dignity and respect owed to the deceased compromised by some coffins.

To ensure safe operation, the FFMA has launched its Coffin Certification Standard, the aim being to produce a robust, cost-effective protocol for the testing of coffins, caskets and other materials and to establish a recognisable, uniform industry standard. 

The tests establish the strength of the coffin, the effect of exposure to radiant heat, and to quantify and qualify the nature of the resultant ash.

Coffins and caskets that have passed relevant tests will be tagged confirming this. 

The association has contracted out the testing to an outside testing company that is UKAS-accredited to ensure that best standards and impartiality are applied. All relevant results will be published, as required, online.

The FFMA believes this is a major step forward to ensuring that high standards are maintained across the trade. It also firmly believes that the initiative will be welcomed by all crematoria and funeral directors.  

The FFMA has 29 ‘coffin manufacturer or supplier’ members who have agreed to participate in the initiative, which is expected to roll out early this year. 

It anticipates that crematoria will adopt the certification and will work with the funeral trade to ensure that only coffins with the approved standard are presented for cremation.  

Because of this, the association encourages all funeral directors to use up their old stock, as it is likely that, from June 2015, crematoria will only accept coffins bearing the Coffin Standard tag.

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