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Unsafe Ladders Remain on Sale in UK

Unsafe Ladders Remain on Sale in UK
26 April 2023

A new safety report from the Ladder Association shows that unsafe and potentially dangerous ladders continue to be sold online in the UK.

The Ladder Association, the not-for-profit lead industry body dedicated to promoting the safe use of portable ladders, is concerned that despite its 2022 report finding that over 80 per cent of commercially-available telescopic ladders tested failed to meet the minimum safety requirements, no action has been taken.

Every 11 minutes in the UK, someone attends A&E after sustaining an injury involving a ladder.


Telescopic Ladder Market Surveillance Report


The telescopic ladder market surveillance report undertaken by the Ladder Association in 2022 also found that over half of the failed ladders were marked and sold as “compliant” in a deliberate attempt to mislead consumers.

In a bid to see if the retailers have addressed the issue, the Ladder Association re-tested a proportion of the same products from last year’s study, bought from the world’s best-known online retailers, Amazon and eBay, and online marketplace

Following identical testing procedures, every set of telescopic ladders failed the required safety tests, meaning they are non-compliant and dangerous, and proving that the earlier failures were not “one-offs”. The latest study also found over 80 per cent of the ladders re-tested claimed to be compliant with product standard EN 131 – but not one of the products met the standard.


Third-Party Websites Have no Responsibility to Preventing Unsafe Ladders Being Sold


As it stands, online marketplaces selling products supplied by third-party sellers, have no responsibility for preventing unsafe goods being sold on their platforms, and no legal obligation to inform consumers if they have purchased unsafe goods. This gives rogue manufacturers and suppliers based anywhere in the world free rein to sell unsafe - and in worst cases deadly - products direct to unsuspecting buyers in the UK. In many cases, no checks are being made at all before consumers receive the products and use them at home or in the workplace.

Peter Bennett OBE, Executive Director of the Ladder Association, commented: “It is clear from our latest report that the issue of unsafe telescopic ladders available for sale on the UK market is neither new nor improving. We also know the issue is not constrained to our sector. We were joint signatories, alongside the British Toy and Hobby Association and Electrical Safety First, in an open letter to government urging them to immediately release the long-awaited Product Safety Review.

“The Review is expected to contain proposals to protect people from buying dangerous products from online marketplaces. We welcome the recent Round Table called by Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake where he told online marketplaces they must do more to keep unsafe products off their platforms. But, until the Product Safety Review is released, consumers are being put at risk daily.

“The Ladder Association is calling for the Government to step in urgently to make regulatory changes to hold suppliers and online platforms accountable for ensuring the products they sell are compliant and safe to use.”

Picture: a photograph of a ladder. Image Credit: The Ladder Association

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 26 April 2023


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