Ladder Certification: British and European Ladder Certification Standards
Most pieces of access equipment such as ladders and stepladders are regulated by different British and European standards. These standards are usually categorised by product types and material of construction. When choosing the product to use, it’s vital to select the appropriate class and strength for the task at hand. Below are some of the British and European standards.
Classes Relating to Product Types
Aluminium steps and ladders are subject to British standard BS2037 and European standard EN131. These standards set out three different classes: Class 1, Class EN131, and Class III.
Class 1 ladders are those designed and constructed to be used in industries. They are the heaviest products under BS2037 standard with a maximum static vertical load of 175 kilograms.
This class replaced class 2 ladders and is suitable for trade use. The ladders in this category have a maximum static vertical load of 150 kilograms.
This is a domestic standard designed for various DIY home use. They have a maximum static vertical load of 125 kilograms.
If you’re working on a building site, HSE recommends that you use either a BS Class 1 or BS EN131 ladder rather than a class 3 product. Also, if you’re looking for an external access ladder for everyday use, it’s important to go for an industrial or trade class product. Domestic class products are recommended only for those tasks you’ll attend to infrequently.
Loft ladders are subject to British and European standard of BS7553. This standard is divided into two main groups; Class H and Class G. Class H is designed for heavy use with a maximum static vertical load of 150 kilograms and Class G is designed for general use with a maximum static vertical load of 100 kilograms. The BS7553 standard has, however, been superseded with a new European standard EN14975 with a maximum load of 150 kilograms.
Ladders and steps made from wood are subject to British standard BS1129. This standard is split into two categories, Class 1 and Class 2 (which has also been replaced by EN131). Class 1 ladders are designed for industrial use and have a maximum static vertical load of 175 kilograms. Class 2 ladders have a maximum load of 150 kilograms and are suitable for trade use.
Step stools are usually tested to the European standard EN14183.
Classification by Material
The following classes correspond to the material of construction of the access equipment:
BS 2037:1990 - British standard that applies to metal ladders and stepladders.
BS 1129:1990 - British standard that applies to wooden ladders and stepladders.
BS EN 131:1993 - European standard applying to metal and wooden ladders and stepladders.
The Bottom Line
It’s important that you understand the difference between the classes in each category and the functions they’re suitable for to ensure you’re using the right ladder for a particular job. This is also essential to enhance your safety when using the tool. When using the ladder in a commercial environment, you can easily lose the payout from your insurer if you used the wrong ladder.