“There is no Australian Standard for pull-down ‘attic’ access ladders”

AM-BOSS is the only pull-down tread style access ladder that complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) through the National Construction Code (NCC) CodeMark Certification scheme, and our ladders are CodeMark certified.

In 2016, ladders accounted for the greatest number of fall-related deaths in Australia. Each year, 5,000 individuals are hospitalised for injuries sustained from ladder falls on construction sites and residences. Data shows that between 2002 and 2012, hospital admissions as a consequence of ladder accidents rose by 47%. This alarming figure can potentially be reduced with the establishment and reinforcement of industry safety standards. In truth, not all products are created equal: notably, there is currently no Australian Standard for pull-down access ladders. 

In 2017, The Australian and Consumer Commission (ACC) launched an educational campaign, ‘Ladder Safety Matters’, encouraging individuals to stop and think before using a step ladder. Whilst the campaign’s message seeks to increase awareness around safety and ‘choosing the right ladder for the job,’ consumer law dictates that the consumer and those within the product supply chain share the onus of responsibility.

Within the building market, all members of the supply chain are held responsible for guaranteeing that installed products perform to industry safety standards. The ACC and Building Code of Australia (BCA) implement these safety checks, whereby distributors, retailers, designers and manufacturers must confirm all products comply to legal requirements or be held accountable to liability claims and prosecution. 

However, there is debate as to whether the current legislation is actually enforcing a practice of mediocrity within the market by representing only “the minimum in acceptable building standards,” given maintaining lower standards within any product area means greater market penetration of low quality products. 

A report published by the Australian Industry Group (AIG), spanning multiple sectors of the construction industry, has identified many weaknesses in building quality conformance in areas of certification and enforcement. One key finding suggests that third party certifiers hold a disproportionate burden whilst increased responsibility must be allocated to the manufacturer, builder and product supplier. As outlined by AIG chief executive Innes Willox, “the act of non-conforming products is a major concern for industry, this report suggests the need to reform the system to ensure quality and safety and to ensure Australian manufacturers and fabricators have a level playing field.” Of industry participants surveyed in the report, 92% indicated the presence of non-compliant products (NCPs) within their sector, whilst half of respondents reported that NCPs comprised between 11 per cent and 50 per cent of all products available. Undoubtedly, non-compliant products are more likely to pose a safety risk and be lower in production quality than compliant products under scrutiny. 

For this reason, it is important that certification schemes are in place to evaluate products, ensuring consistency of safety standards and the perpetuation of high quality goods in the construction sector. Where no government body exists to verify product quality, it is always advisable to seek evaluation from a reputable third party such as CodeMark. In recognising building products affiliated with the BCA, CodeMark certification guarantees compliance with nation-wide codes. 

In purchasing goods that are certified by CodeMark, smart consumers can benefit from a longer product lifespan and consistency in standard, in addition to avoiding costly retrofitting if a product is found to be non-compliant post-installation. Perhaps most importantly, CodeMark verified products promote the safety of the consumer, signifying ethical manufacturing and the concern for the welfare of the customer. When undertaking high-risk construction or maintenance work from heights, there is no compromise – the use of certified equipment is vital.  

AM-BOSS PDA ladders are CodeMark certified. Designed and fabricated in Australia for about 40 years, the range of ladders is made with top-quality welded aluminium, which has been tested and load rated at  weights of up to 400kg. A safer alternative to free standing products, the AM-BOSS pull down access system is permanently fixed, with grab rails removing the risk of tilting and tipping. Custom design and manufacturing capabilities also ensure consistency in tread distances, limiting the likelihood of accidents.

Ultimately, product certification guarantees that goods meet a standard of quality, ensuring that consumers are provided with safe and reliable products. In purchasing CodeMark-certified ladder products, consumers and workplaces raise industry standards across the market by holding manufacturers accountable for their consumer safety and promoting excellence in fabrication and ethical production.