"The most extensive review and update since standards for ladders were first established." That is how the Ladder Association, the not-for-profit industry body dedicated to ladder safety, is describing the revision of BS EN 131 - the single British and European product standard covering all types of portable ladders.
It has published an 8-page guide explaining the changes and, importantly, the implications for specifiers, users and health and safety professionals.
A long-standing member of the European standards committee for ladders, CEN TC93, the Association has made a major contribution to the development of the new standard.
The changes include improved stability and enhanced test requirements designed to improve strength, rigidity and durability.
Following the changes, there are now two classes of ladder: ‘non-professional’ for domestic users only and ‘professional’ for use in the workplace. Both have the same minimum capacity of 150kg.
Comments the Ladder Association’s technical manager and chair of its Technical Committee, Don Aers: “These are positive changes that improve ladder design and therefore ladder safety. However, with change can come uncertainty, which is why we have produced the guide.”
“It makes clear that ladder standards do not apply retrospectively so there is no immediate requirement to change existing ladders. Business users should simply give consideration now to updating their purchasing policies as soon as reasonably practical to reflect the latest standard when new or replacement ladders are required.”
“During this transitional period users will also be able to purchase ladders meeting the old - BS 2037 and BS 1129 - ladder standards, but the opportunity to do so will diminish over time as supplies are exhausted.”
“The revised standards are now published and manufacturers are currently in the process of changing over to the new designs.”
Whilst ladders may not always be the first choice when working at height, they are often a sensible and practical option for low-risk and short duration tasks, and there are many situations where a ladder is the only practical option.
The Ladder Association is the not-for-profit industry association dedicated to promoting the safe use of ladders. It represents all aspects of the industry on standards committees in the UK and Europe. Its members include manufacturers, suppliers, hirers and training providers and the association provides advice and guidance on all aspects of height safety and best practice. It also delivers the industry-standard training scheme.
For more information click here