Ladders are a common household product that comes in many shapes and sizes. Metal ladders are built to be sturdy. However, manufacturing defects, ladder misuse and user error can result in serious injuries.
Articulating Ladder Failure
An articulating ladder failed resulting in personal injury. Metallurgical failure analysis of the failed ladder was requested after a ladder collapsed under the weight of the user which intiated the investigation. The ladder was examined and its joints and hinges were manipulated and tested. Examination revealed that the ladder had been misused and abused causing damage to one of the hinges. The hinge damage prevented the hinge from performing as designed. The failure analysis determined the cause of the accident to be abuse and inadequate maintenance by the ladder owner.
Photograph A Hinge fracture of failed articulating ladder hinges.
Metallurgical failure analysis was requested after a suspected stepladder failure. The failed stepladder had two bent back legs. Overall views of the bent ladder legs are shown in Photographs A and B. After visual examination and mechanical load calculations, it was determined that the stepladder was not defectively manufactured. The stepladder leg deformation resulted from the stepladder falling on its side and then the user falling onto the stepladder. The cause of the accident was carelessness or misuse by the stepladder user.
Photograph A Left and right failed back legs of the subject failed stepladder.