Over 32,000 telescopic ladders have been withdrawn from sale over safety fears.
Trading Standards is now warning DIY enthusiasts, tradesmen and gardeners to check their ladders and be vigilant when using them.
Government investigation launched
Enquiries by Trading Standards found major safety concerns. It has led to a government-funded investigation working alongside Derby City Council, Leicestershire County Council and Northamptonshire County Council.
Such ladders have become increasingly popular in recent years, but with dozens of locking mechanisms, it can take just one faulty part to cause the ladder to collapse.
Thirteen different types of telescopic ladders were tested – all failed to meet the standard for ladder design, safety and structural requirements – BS EN 131.
Almost all were easily damaged during testing, and were not robust enough to cope with normal wear and tear.
In one extreme example, the ladder snapped in two beneath the test load.
Derbyshire has withdrawn from sale and recalled over 28,000 ladders, with a further 4,400 subject to similar action by the other authorities.
Mike Ashworth, Strategic Director for Economy, Transport and Communities, said: “We began these tests after concerns were raised by a Derbyshire company.
“The results are absolutely shocking – particularly with firms advertising the ladders as complying with relevant safety standards as this means it is now difficult to advise buyers on what to look for.
“People simply aren’t getting what they are paying for. This is bad enough under any circumstances, but when it is placing them in danger, it simply isn’t acceptable.”
Eleven of the 13 ladders tested were manufactured in China and most were bought online.
To report any concerns or for consumer advice contact Citizens Advice Consumer Centre on 03454 04 05 06, textphone 18001 03454 04 05 06.
Source: Trading Standards