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Test & Research Centre helps stop dangerous ladders at port

When Suffolk Trading Standards Imports Team intercepted a suspicious shipment of ladders at Felixstowe last month, they turned to the newly opened Test & Research Centre - an independent testing centre, funded and supported by the Ladder Association - for assistance.

The suspect shipment contained two ladder products which claimed to be compliant to EN 131 ladder standard. Initially the ladders were held at the port due to missing the name and address of the producer and batch identification - both offences under Regulation 7 of the General Product Safety Regulations.

However, on further examination, the Trading Standards Officers had other concerns about these ladders. They questioned the multi hinge-joint ladders conformity with EN 131-4, so they contacted the Test & Research Centre for advice. After initial discussions, the ladders were put through Critical Safety Fault Testing, where the ladders subsequently failed vertical load, strength and opening restraint tests. This proved that the products were indeed dangerous, and 266 ladders were successfully prevented from entering the UK market.

John Darby, Test & Research Centre General Manager commented 'It has been several years hard work to get the Test & Research Centre to where it is now. The industry felt that there was a problem with imported ladders not meeting the standards. Above all, they felt strongly enough about it to support the start-up of the Test and Research Centre. It appears from this work that their concerns were correct.

Ladders fall under the General Product Safety Regulations in the UK. Product producers and suppliers must ensure that products placed on the market are safe. If you are buying and importing ladders into the UK, it is good practice to verify what the Manufacturer has told you. Independent certification, together with batch testing, give suppliers confidence in the supply chain, and would have prevented these dangerous products attempting to enter the UK.

To be able to help Trading Standards as one of our first clients has made the hard work worthwhile and we look forward to helping them in whatever way we can in the future.'

To read the full article and watch the short testing video, visit the Test & Research Centre website