Everything you need to know about the EN131 Ladder Standards

Kathryn Hamilton 11/09/19

EN131 Ladder Standards FAQs


Are you confused by the new EN131 Ladder standards? To help make things clear, we have accumulated all the frequently asked questions people have about the new EN131 rules into this handy guide. 


There were 3 standards for leaning and step ladders within the UK, these were


BS2037/ BS1129 Class 1 - For heavy-duty and industrial use 

EN131 - For trade and light industrial use

BS2037/ BS1129 Class 3 - For domestic use. 


New EN131 standards Guide


How do I know if a ladder is compliant the EN131 standards?

Any Ladders that meet the new EN131 standard will be labelled to state if they are suitable for Professional or Non-Professional use.


Which ladders fall under the new ladder standards UK 


Will the new EN131 standards be affected by Brexit? 

No, Brexit will not have any effect, the UK will continue to adopt EN131 ladder standards.


Do I have to get rid of my existing ladders, or can I still use ladders to the old standards? 

You can use any existing products even if they are not certified to the new standards, providing they are in good condition. 

Ladders should regularly be inspected by users and managers that have the appropriate training. The Ladder Association training we offer is an excellent way of demonstrating competency. Once your ladders have failed inspections you should then purchase to the new standard. 


Why are old standards still being sold?

Companies and manufacturers are allowed to sell EN131 ladders certified to the old standard until their stocks runs out. For the majority of manufacturers, this time is nearly over.


Why are some EN131 ladders more expensive than others? 

All EN131 Professional ladders meet the standards, whereas others exceed them and therefore this makes the ladder more expensive. 


Has the load capacity changed on new EN 131 standard ladders?

To meet the revised EN131 ladders standard, are designed and tested to take a maximum total load of 150 kg, including the user, and any additional extras. This is a reduction on the 175kg requirements that use to be in place with Class 1. 


What is the difference between EN131 Professional and Non-Professional Ladders?

Although ladders approved the revised EN131 standard carry the same load rating, ladders certified to EN131 professional are subject to stricter durability requirements and are tested for rigorous use. For example, EN131 Non-Professional ladders in testing will have to withstand 10,000 cycles of durability testing and Professional-rated ladders will have to withstand 50,000 cycles.


Why have the standards changed?

The European Commission was dissatisfied with elements of the old standards.  They have issued for the new measures to include additional requirements for stability, slip, durability and strength to prevent the leading causes of ladder-related accidents.


How are the new standards different? 

1) Dimensions of stiles and spacing between rungs have changed to improve stability 

2) Increased strength test requirements 

3) New requirements for ladder durability and testing such as torsion tests

4) Stabiliser bars are now required on a leaning ladder over 3 meters


More Information on testing EN131 Ladders to the new standard.

Base Slip Test

The base slip test of a leaning ladder is one of the most common reasons for an accident on ladders when misused. Part of the new test for this utilises the hardest surfaces such as glass. The ladder is positioned for use at a consistent length with a load representative to the weight of the toll plus the user. For all ladders over 3 meters, a stabiliser bar is mandatory.

image of Base Slip Test


Torsion Test - Leaning Ladder

The torsion test is to look for any twist movements on a leaning ladder when laid flat, with a vertical load of 50kg applied to the central point between the stiles while being extended. The second load of 65kg is applied to one of the stiles for 30 seconds.

Torsion Test - Leaning Ladder


Lateral Deflection Test

The test is to look for any bending movements while the ladder is laid on its side. A weight is applied to the centre of the ladder, and the deflection measurements are taken. The ability to pass the test is based on the calculation of the length of the ladder for the maximum deflection that must not be exceeded.

Lateral Deflection Test


Bend Test

The leaning ladder is placed on a test rig, extended, and a vertical load of 10kg applied to the middle of the ladder between the stiles. Weight of 76kg will then be applied to the middle of the sites for the duration of 60seconds. In ordered to pass the load-deflection must not exceed a calculation which is worked out based on the span distance of the ladder.

Bend Test


Strength Test

For the strength of the ladder to be tested, it must be done in a position of use. The trend/ rung is tested to static loads of Non - professional 229kg and Professional 275kg. Once the load has been removed, the ladder must remain intact with all the connections remaining functional.

Strength Test


Durability Test

Under the new standards, ladders will now also be tested for durability. Concentrating on the strength of the ladder and verified by loading 150kg to the ladder and alternating it between the top and middle treads or rungs. The cycle of tests is repeated several times but varies for the two parts of the standards - Non-professional products = 10,000 cycles Professional products = 50,000 cycles. To pass the ladder must be able to support the load without showing signs of rupture.

Durability Test


Opening the restraints & Hinge Test

As the name states, this measures the durability of the opening restraints and hinges of a standing ladder (Step ladder format). Each leg of the ladder is placed on a platform fitted with castors, a test load of 265kg is then divided into two loads of 132.5kg and placed at the top tread/ platform of the ladder close to the ascending stiles and last for 60 seconds. To pass the ladder must not show any signs of weakness in the hinge joints or restraint devices of any sort. 


Opening the restraints & Hinge Test



Torsion Test - Step Ladder

This tests the twist movement while the ladder is in the position of use. Proved by clamping the sides of the ladder in place and attaching a load of 75kg to the top of the ladder. A horizontal pressure is also applied to the top of the ladder. Measuring any movement at all to the ascending ladder foot that is not held in position. When carried out the ladder must not move more than 25mm from its first position to pass.


Torsion Test - Step Ladder

(All photographs used are accredited to WernerCo)


Further Information

If you would like to learn any more information about the new ladder standards don't hesitate to get in touch and speak to our team of experts. You can email us via our contact form or give us a call on 01204 590 232

At Ladderstore, we prioritise safety and that is why we offer a wide range of EN131 professional and non-professional ladders, suitable for all work applications.