Original article published by the ladder association
A telescopic ladder safety campaign from the Ladder Association
The Ladder Association is committed to stopping the sale of unsafe ladders in the UK.
Our latest ladder safety campaign, ‘Step Up to Safe Ladders’, aims to shine a light on the very real dangers of poor-quality telescopic ladders on the market, to stop the sale of these unsafe ladders in the UK, and ultimately keep people safe when using ladders.
Our recent research and testing of a sample of telescopic ladders (obtained online and in-store) showed that 4 out of 5 of the ladders tested in this specific survey, failed the required safety tests designed to keep users safe.
Despite these results, we want to be clear in saying there ARE also safe products out there, being sold or stocked by trusted manufacturers and suppliers.
However, we hope our research, conducted in partnership with Trading Standards, gives consumers an increased awareness around the issue and encourages them to exercise caution when buying telescopic ladders, particularly online.
Working at height can be risky enough, without the additional danger of unsafe equipment – every 11 minutes in the UK, someone attends A&E after sustaining an injury involving a ladder1. We know that a fall from height can cause life changing injury, and in some cases, death.
And research carried out by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) also found only 17% of consumers consider safety at the time of purchase, reflecting the trust placed in suppliers, retailers, marketplaces and online platforms to only supply safe products.
Unfortunately though, many consumers are unaware that selling platforms, including online stores and social media sites, assume no responsibility for the safety of goods sold by third parties.
So what does this mean for the consumer? And what’s the risk?
New research commissioned by the Ladder Association has raised serious concerns that unsafe and potentially dangerous ladders are being sold to unsuspecting consumers in the UK.
Our market surveillance study, in partnership with East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and Suffolk Trading Standards Imports Team, put 17 telescopic ladders through their paces in a series of safety critical tests at the UKAS accredited not-for-profit UK testing facility, Test & Research Centre.
The test ladders were obtained anonymously from a range of sources including online stores, marketplaces, physical stores and included some ladders detained at Port by Trading Standards, to provide a fair and representative sample of the market.
The telescopic ladders were subject to key strength tests and dimensional checks, to check their conformity to product standard EN 131-6. This is the standard to which all telescopic ladders should be made and demonstrates quality and safety.
The results make for some concerning reading…
Over 80% of the telescopic ladders tested in the study – including some from our best-loved retailers – failed to meet the minimum safety requirements designed to keep users safe.
Worse still, over half of the failed ladders were marked and sold as ‘compliant’ in a deliberate attempt to mislead the public.
The Ladder Association is committed to helping make sure that all ladders sold, whether online or in store, are safe to use.
That’s why we commissioned this research and have compiled the results in a comprehensive report that you can download and read for yourself.
What’s inside, the key highlights:
• Key drivers and objectives of the campaign;
• Why we need market surveillance to improve safety and product conformity;
• Snapshot of the UK ladder market;
• Ladder accidents and how this translates to hospital admissions;
• Detailed results on our product testing;
• Our call for action from enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies and consumers;
• Practical guidance for consumers when buying ladders online or in store.