Ladders And Scaffold Towers - The Latest Certification

Ladders And Scaffold Towers - The Latest Certification

23rd July 2014

Whether you’re using a ladder in a domestic setting or using ladders, scaffolding and other access equipment in the workplace, ladder safety is the most important issue.  Working with ladders can be a very dangerous business which is why we have rules and regulations in place here in the UK governing their use.  According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 591,000 employees had an accident at work in 2011 – 2012 resulting in injury and absence from work. 

During that same year, employers in Britain reported 114,000 injuries to workers with 24,000 of these being classed as minor injuries.  Shockingly, many of these incidents could have been avoided if the correct access equipment (such as ladders and safety steps) had been available.  These figures demonstrate just how important it is for business owners to provide their employees with the correct equipment that will enable them to work without risk of injury.

For the most part employers in the UK fully understand their duty and the responsibilities they hold towards the people in their employment.  Employers up and down the land are eager to comply with the regulations that are designed to ensure that ladders and other access equipment are used in the safest way possible– they understand that the right to work in safety is an obligation that is their responsibility to ensure.  However, a small number of business owners just cannot see beyond the need to make a profit and may be willing to compromise the health and safety of their employees in order to cut costs and maximise their income.  These employers are rare here in the UK and this type of attitude towards employees is fast becoming a thing of the past.  The HSE has worked long and hard to make sure that Britain is a safe country in which to work and earn a living.

There are Standards that ladders and access equipment need to meet in order to be considered safe and suitable for use:

EUROPEAN TRADE/DIY STANDARD

A ladder that is suitable for both domestic and trade use should carry an EN131 certification which is your assurance that the ladder will be suitable for the job at hand.  Trade quality ladders are the most popular grade of aluminium ladder in Europe and carry a load rating of 150kg (23.5 stone) and are suitable for use in the workplace (but not for heavy industrial work) and for use in the home.

INDUSTRIAL/TRADE USE

If a ladder is to be used in an industrial environment or if it is to be used extensively on a daily basis, then an industrial ladder will be sturdier and offer additional weight bearing capability.  Look for the BS2037 Class 1 British Standard Kitemark to make sure that the ladder will be strong enough for the job.

SCAFFOLD TOWER

There are currently no particular UK standards covering scaffold and the HSE relies on the Working at Height Regulations (WAHR) to promote the safe use of scaffold.