Standards prove their worth


The need to comply with NZ Standards is often challenged but there has recently been a sobering reminder that they are there for the benefit of us all.

Consumer Affairs Minister Simon Bridges recently announced a ban on multi-purpose ladders that don’t meet NZ Standard after an investigation by Consumer Affairs.

It all started when one bought online from a Trade Me retail dealer buckled and split, collapsing only seconds after a 90kg man climbed on it. The ladder was supposed to hold up to 150kg

Following a complaint, Consumer Affairs tests found that this particular brand multi-purpose ladder collapsed well below its advertised weight limit and subsequent tests on an assortment of other ladders bought online showed similar problems. The aluminium construction was very thin and may have contributed to the collapse.

These ladders obviously failed the standards loading requirements. The outcome is summed up by the Minister’s quote, "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".

The Unsafe Goods Notice for Multi-purpose Ladders, issued under section 31 of the Fair Trading Act, prohibits the sale or supply of multi-purpose ladders, which do not comply with the safety Standard. It is enforced by the New Zealand Customs Service on imports and the Commerce Commission in the market place.

Note that there are multi-purpose ladders, sold from reputable merchants and made by reputable manufacturers, which are suitable for purpose and safe to use.

The ban came into effect for a period of 18 months from 22 November 2012, after which time it will be reviewed.

For more information go to the website here 

This event also hi-lights and reminds us of the illegal use of products imported direct which do not have correct NZ clearance, authorisation for use or meet NZ Standards. Remember if the price is too good to be true then it is more than likely not a NZ approved product. A timely reminder to a situation we have made reference to in previous editions of BOB.

The story also brings into focus the dangers of working from ladders. There are 6000 moderate to serious ladder injuries at home every year and construction ranks third highest industry for injuries and the total number overall. 

ACC has advice on the use of ladders here  and it’s time we moved from the attitude where we think we know how to do it, to making sure we do it right.

Check the link and also note that when working from heights on construction sites now it is pretty much mandatory that scaffolding be used.