What Is New In The World Of Ladder Safety

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What is the Test & Research Centre?

The Test & Research Centre was created in 2018 in hopes of reducing accidents and fatalities when working at height. Their testing centre opened for business in January 2020 with the capability of testing ladders and scaffold towers, to ensure they are fit for purpose, in a joint project between PASMA and the Ladder Association. 

As our Managing Director, Gail Hounslea as the Chair of the Ladder Association and a trustee of the Test and Research Centre, managed to get some detailed information from the General Manager, John Darby at the Test & Research Centre to give us a brief history of the centre and its overall aims and objectives. 

A Brief History Of The Test & Research Centre With John Darby. 

John Darby At The Task & Research Centre

When John Darby joined the Ladder Association in 2017 one of the key projects he picked up was investigating the opportunity of starting up an organisation to provide independent product testing and research facilities to the non-powered access industry. At the time the Ladder Association had identified that manufacturers and suppliers of ladders were struggling to obtain product certifications in the UK. This meant that high costs and availability of testing elsewhere hampered the ability to bring a demonstrable compliant product to market, which in turn increased the chances of people using non-compliant products when working at height. 

Over the next 12 months, market research was conducted alongside a business plan for the Test & Research Centre which was approved by the Ladder Association and PASMA. The next challenge was to source the right facility when testing EN1004 for towers the test needs to take place at a platform height of 6m and if this wasn’t enough the facility needed to be close to the Port of Felixstowe to support Trading Standards. After looking at other alternatives, such as buying land and building from the ground up a unit was discovered in Soham, Cambridgeshire which was quickly secured. This unit had a 25m tower! 

Once we had the location we built our facility suitable for the testing, we developed our T&RGETMARK Certification and registered the company, with our formal Grand Opening with invited dignitaries during Q2 of 2020. 

What Is The T&RGETMARK & Is It Currently Being Used? 

The T&RGETMARK is the Certification used at the Test & Research Centre, and if you see this on a product it means it’s been tested and certified to a high standard, and therefore safe to use. The T&RGETMARK is currently in use for the following products:

  •  Mobile access and working towers (EN 1004)
  • Prefabricated tower scaffolds (BS 1139-6) 
  • Low level work platforms (BS 8620)
  • Portable ladders (EN131)

This Certification has not currently been granted on any products as of yet, however, this only went live in early 2020 and has seen much interest and a positive response from a number of UK and international organisations. The first T&RGETMARK certification will be granted very soon. 

Ladder being tested at the Test & Research centre

What Products Are Currently Tested?

At the moment the main focus is on the safety of ladder and towers however the Test & Research centre and constantly investigating other testing that could take place at their facility.

Ladder being tested at the Test & Research centre


Do Members of Ladder Association or PASMA get preferential rates?

Unfortunately not. Preferential rates are not offered to any particular groups of clients. This is to ensure that the International Standards they work to ensure that they have no undue pressure, or “risk to impartiality” as it’s known, which may arise from offering preferential rates. 

With this said, discounted rates are being offered to ‘early adopters’ to entice organisations to move away from their current providers.

Ladder being tested at the Test & Research centre

What's The Plan For Imported Products?

Currently, the Test & Research Centre are working with Trading Standards to make them aware of their services and are in the process of building strong relationships with them to assist with their investigations. 

Ladder being tested at the Test & Research centre

What Are The Future Plans? 

Short term the Test & Research Centre are working through their UKAS accreditation. This is the national accreditation service for the UK and accredits organisations working to International Standards for testing laboratories and certification bodies. This is a vital part of our plans and we hope to secure our first Accreditation during 2020. 

The centre is also taking a look at raising their profile by initially working with clients and pushing their branding to end-users. A stronger relationship with Trading Standards and enhancing their testing product offering will also be looked at in the future to develop the centre's operations.

Further Information

For further information on the Test & Research centre and what they can do for you please take a look at their website. Alternatively, get in touch with our team who will be more than happy to provide you with all the relevant information you require.  

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