Unsafe 'multi-purpose' ladders banned

Testing by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs found this unbranded ladder for sale online didn't meet its safety standards. Photo / supplied
Testing by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs found this unbranded ladder for sale online didn't meet its safety standards. Photo / supplied

Some ladders that do not meet New Zealand safety standards have been banned after one bought on Trade Me collapsed, injuring a man.

Consumer Affairs launched an investigation after a multipurpose ladder promising to carry 150kg collapsed only seconds after Auckland man John Marston, who weighs about 90kg, climbed it.

Officials tested similar ladders made of thin aluminium and found all failed loading requirements.

Consumer Affairs Minister Simon Bridges today announced the ban on multipurpose ladders that do no meet New Zealand and Australian standards. Fines for those who breach it could reach $60,000 for individuals and $200,000 for companies.

"It is unacceptable that the public should be at significant risk of injury from multi-purpose ladders that do not meet Australian and New Zealand safety standards, which is why I have, after consideration, declared an unsafe goods notice," Mr Bridges said.

The ban will be reviewed after 18 months.

Mr Marston told the Herald in May he was lucky not to receive head injuries after the 4.7m-high ladder collapsed within seconds of his using it.

He ruptured his calf muscle and severely strained his left ankle in the January accident in which he fell about three metres.

The ladder, which he bought on Trade Me, had been advertised as meeting European safety standards and having a safe working load of 150kg.

"I can assure you, I'm not 150kg," Mr Marston said .

"It was the first time I'd used it. I got about three-quarters of the way up. And it snapped in half."

Trade Me spokesman Jon Duffy said it was now mandatory for all ladders sold on the site to meet the voluntary Australia and New Zealand standard for ladders.

"We were pretty alarmed by the incident and so at that time we immediately withdrew all of those ladders from the site and we required all new ladders sold on Trade Me to meet that standard, and that has been our policy since that time."

While the announcement by the ministry today related only to multipurpose ladders, Trade Me's current listing policy covered all ladders, he said.

- APNZ

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