Suffolk Trading Standards intercepted a suspicious shipment of ladders at Felixstowe last month and sent them for testing.
The suspect shipment contained two ladders that 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 Ladder Association’s Test & Research Centre in Soham for advice.
The ladders were put through critical safety fault testing, where the ladders subsequently failed vertical load, strength and opening restraint tests. This testing has helped Suffolk Trading Standards’ imports team prevent 266 dangerous ladders entering the UK market all likely destined for online sale to unsuspecting businesses and homeowners.
The Ladder Association’s facility is the first time that Trading Standards have had a viable solution for an independent laboratory to test ladders.
John Darby, general manager of the Test & Research Centre, said: “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 & Research Centre. It appears from this work that their concerns were correct.”