Telescopic Ladder Failures

August 18, 2022
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Recent research by The Ladder Association has found that up to 80% of telescopic ladders sold failed to meet the minimum safety requirements set out in BS EN 131-6 Ladders – Telescopic Ladders.

This is especially concerning considering their rise in popularity alongside the fact that many of the largest and most trusted sellers were involved in selling these ladders. In an attempt to counteract the dangers associated with the increased usage of telescopic ladders a revision was made to EN 131-6 in 2019. This revision was made in order to improve the safety of the ladders, most notably increasing the required width of ladders. However, despite these revisions, the research by The Ladder Association found that the revision and other aspects of EN 131-6 were being ignored by those producing ladders. The packaging for the ladders often included fake assurances that the ladders comply with EN 131-6 despite them not doing so.

Working on ladders at heights already presents a risk, 40% of all falls from heights involved ladders. The Ladders Association has indicated that suppliers, retailers and importers all have some responsibility in ensuring that ladders are independently tested if they are unsure of the quality, nonetheless, it remains as important as ever for individuals and businesses using telescopic ladders to follow the HSE’s advice on using telescopic ladders.

HSE’s guidance on using telescopic ladders can be found at:

Every time telescopic ladders are used the normal checks for using a ladder must be completed, this means checking the stiles, feet and rungs of the ladder making sure they are not bent or damaged in any way. For telescopic ladders, it is particularly important to make sure that the lock mechanisms for each section are working correctly.

You can find the full Ladders Association report here:

If you or your business uses telescopic ladders it is important to follow guidelines on ladder safety, including ensuring that they are safe to use. Please speak to your normal PIB Risk management contact or get in touch using [email protected] if you have any questions about safe working at height or would like to arrange an audit of your current procedures.