All You Need to Know About the Change in Ladder Standards
As we told you in last week’s News Roundup, the Ladder Association has published an 8 page guide on the latest changes in ladder standards. We promised that we’d publish a detailed article about it this week, so here we are. The changes are designed to improve the safety of ladders and make it easier to buy the right ladder for the job.
BS EN 131 (the single British and European product standard covering all types of portable ladders) has undergone substantial changes which cover BS 2037 and BS 1129 (often referred to as Class 1 and Class 3 ladders) must be amended to remove conflicting products which means that certified ladders from these standards will no longer be available following the transition period.
BS EN 131 is the UK version of EN 131. All ladders now have the same minimum capacity of 150 kg.
Now that the revised EN 131 standards have been published, ladder manufacturers are in the process of changing to the new designs which meet the requirements of the new standard. Ladders which are certified to the withdrawn British standards (BS 2037 and BS 1129, often named Class 1 and Class 3 ladders) will not be available following the transition period.
Because product standards don’t apply retrospectively, there’s no need to rush out and replace your ladder/s if they’re still in good condition and ladders certified to the old standards will still be sold during the transition period as suppliers clear existing stock. If you’re a business owner you should update your purchasing policies to specify EN131 Professional ladders when you need to buy new ones. The Non-Professional certified ladders will be adequate for domestic use.
Professional ladder users will not need to retrain to use the new style ladders but if you haven’t already undertaken ladder safety training, why not get in touch with the Ladder Association and arrange to do so. The training will ensure that you understand the essential issues about safe use, handling and storage of ladders. Any business owners needs to make sure that workers who are expected to use a ladder (whether on a regular basis or not) has undertaken the training.
Ladders are suitable for low-risk tasks of short duration (less than 30 minutes) and a risk assessment must be carried out before deciding that a ladder should be used. If it’s right to use a ladder, then using the right ladder is essential as is undertaking the training in how to use it correctly. Always read the user instructions and inspect the safety label on any ladder before use.
When purchasing a new ladder, it’s important to be aware that it is not possible at present to legally CE mark a ladder. This means that any ladder bearing a CE mark is suspect and the CE mark is fake – don’t buy it. You can check out our advice on how to spot counterfeit CE marks here.