A LADDER SURVEILLANCE survey will investigate substandard and potentially dangerous ladders in the UK supply chain.
The Ladder Association, in partnership with Trading Standards departments across the East of England, are getting ready to start the ladder investigation. It will check whether ladders conform to product standard EN 131.
Focusing first on telescopic ladders, the Ladder Association will be working with the UK-based Certification Body and Test Laboratory, the Test and Research Centre, to test a sample of telescopic ladders, from various sources, against a range of key strength tests.
The Surveillance Survey is the result of a closer relationship between the Test and Research Centre and Suffolk County Council Trading Standards Imports Team, who together, have stopped over 800 dangerous ladders from entering the UK market through the Port of Felixstowe, in the last 18 months alone.
Not only was there an issue with the quality of the ladders tested (they failed numerous dimension, strength and deflection tests), but even more worryingly, the ladders all appeared to have ‘official’ labelling, making it extremely difficult for ladder users to know what ‘good’ looks like.
Gail Hounslea, Chairman of the Ladder Association said, “It is clear from the work already done with Trading Standards, there is a real problem with sub-standard ladders making their way into the homes and workplaces of unsuspecting ladder users. These ladders are dangerous, liable to cause injury and need to be stopped.
“This Surveillance Survey will not only root out dangerous ladders, but the findings will also help us develop clearer guidance for consumers and businesses to give them the added confidence to make smarter and safer ladder buying decisions.
“Let’s not forget though, the role retailers have to play here too. It doesn’t matter if they’re an independent high street store or a major online retailer, they must take responsibility for due diligence when offering ladders for sale. Yes, we can educate consumers, but the reality is the products shouldn’t be there for sale in the first place.”
John Darby, Test and Research Centre General Manager added, “Our work with Local Authority Trading Standards in the East of England, and particularly Suffolk’s surveillance activities at the Port of Felixstowe, have found some truly dangerous ladders. It would only be a matter of time before they caused a serious injury or a fatality. Consumers in the UK have a legal right to assume a product is safe if it is placed on the market for them to buy – and we will do everything we can to highlight the unsafe ones.”