Wobbly Ladders Still On Sale Online

Unsafe and potentially dangerous ladders continue to be sold online in the UK, according to a new safety report from the Ladder Association.

The latest report is a follow-on from the telescopic ladder market surveillance report undertaken by the Ladder Association in 2022, which found that over 80% of commercially-available telescopic ladders tested, failed to meet the minimum safety requirements designed to keep users safe.

Worse still, this research found over half of the failed ladders were marked and sold as ‘compliant’ in a deliberate attempt to mislead consumers.


No action

Despite ongoing campaigning, no action has been taken to improve the problem. 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 popular online marketplace OnBuy.com.

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% of the ladders re-tested claimed to be compliant with product standard EN 131 – but not one of the products met the standard.

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 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.


A trip to the hospital

Every 11 minutes in the UK, someone attends A&E after sustaining an injury involving a ladder. A fall from height can cause life changing injury and in some cases, can even be fatal.

Peter Bennett OBE, executive director of the Ladder Association, says: “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.”


Picture: An unsafe telescopic ladder purchased from an online retailer.


Article written by Cathryn Ellis
13th May 2023


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