Ministry to step up ladder safety after injuries
Online ladder sales targeted after reports of ladders collapsing causing serious injuries.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs is targeting online ladder sales following reports of multipurpose aluminium ladders collapsing, causing serious injuries.
One 4.7 metre-high ladder, advertised as having a safe working load of 150 kilograms, collapsed within seconds of the user climbing it for the first time, seriously injuring the user.
Ministry of Consumer Affairs Principal Advisor Martin Rushton said the aluminium of the unbranded ladder was only 1.2 millimetres thick.
“The seller could not provide a valid test certificate to show it had passed safety testing. We commissioned our own testing by an accredited laboratory and the ladder failed, collapsing like plasticine under a load of 120kgs.”
The Ministry, with the cooperation of Trade Me, identified other buyers of this ladder and notified them of the danger. The trader is refunding these consumers.
The Ministry is now investigating a wider range of ladders being sold online and will consider whether the current safety standard should be strengthened or made mandatory.
“These online traders have shown disregard for the safety of their customers. The ladders they have sold are dangerously weak, with thin metal that is completely insufficient to handle the weight of a human.
“The Consumer Guarantees Act says all products sold in New Zealand must be safe. If you purchase a ladder you think is unsafe, take it back to the trader.”
Mr Rushton said buyers should purchase ladders that meet the Australia/New Zealand standard AS/NZS 1892.1:1996. “Purchasing ladders that have met safety standards could actually save you money. In this instance the unsafe ladders were more expensive than branded versions sold by major retailers.”
Mr Rushton said traders needed to be aware of their obligations. “This should serve as a warning for independent traders setting up shop online. If you import products without ensuring they are safe, the consequences can be serious and, in the event of a recall, costly. The best way to ensure your products are safe is make sure they meet Australia / New Zealand standards.”
ACC's Head of Injury Prevention and Insurance Products Peter Wood said ladders were involved in around 7000 ACC claims for injuries in and around the home every year.
“It's encouraging to see action being taken to prevent unnecessary harm resulting from substandard products. Ladder users also need to be aware that many injuries happen because people use ladders incorrectly. Tips on safe ladder use are available on ACC's website." You can find more info here.
Anyone who has experienced an issue with a ladder where the structural integrity is suspected to be a cause is urged to report the incident to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs on 0508 627 774 or here.