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Ladder Classes Explained - Are You Puzzled By EN131?

David Potter 03/11/16

Are you puzzled by EN131? If so not to worry, we have you covered. EN131 has recently changed and because of this change, it's made it really easy to explain. With a little help from our friends at Werner Ladders, we have all the information you need.

What is EN131 and how does it affect the UK?

EN131 is a European Union Certification for portable steps and ladders, manufactured from metal and certain other materials such as GRP. Anyone purchasing a ladder that is to the EN131 standard can have peace of mind it's been manufactured and tested to ensure maximum safety. EN131 does not cover warehouse steps, loft ladders (EN14975) or step stools (EN14183) as they have their own classification. 

How Has EN131 Changed? 

In the past, there were three different classifications or portable ladders, or step and extension ladders to you and me. These were Class 1, EN131 and Domestic or class 3. 

Class 1 was used for Industrial applications, often on construction sites, EN131 was used for trade and retail and Domestic for your everyday DIY tasks. 

Testing is much more advanced and features such as stabiliser bars are required under this new standard once a ladder reaches a height of 3m.

The European Commission was dissatisfied with elements of the existing standard and has issued an EC Mandate for the standard to include additional requirements for stability, slip, durability and strength. With this mandate, all certified ladders in the UK have now changed. 

How is EN131 changing? From Three to Two. 

So earlier we explained there were three classes. Class 1, EN131 and Domestic. To put it very simply Class 1 and EN131 have joined together and we now call this EN131 Professional, which is suitable for both trade and industrial purposes. 


The domestic side of EN131 is not simply called EN131 Non-professional. It's really as easy as that. If you are buying for business purchase EN131 Professional and for Domestic and DIY EN131 Non-professional. 


More Detail On New Ladder Classifications 

EN131 Professional 

This classification should be used for both industrial and trade use.

The EN131 professional standards are replacing class 1 but only for portable ladders, class 1 will still cover trestles. The maximum capacity is 150kg which is the same as the non-professional classification, however, the professional standard ladders have been tested 5 times more than a non-professional ladder. 

EN131 Non-Professional

The EN131 non-professional standards will cover ladders for domestic use only. This classification is able to hold a 150kg load but the ladders within this classification are tested a little less vigorously.

How will I know if a product is compliant with EN131?

Products will need to be independently tested and certified for compliance and labelled with the new EN131 Standard. If your product does not come with an EN131 label, it is highly likely not to be EN131. 

What happens to products that do not comply with EN131?

There is no legal requirement to conform to standards in the UK but safety bodies such as Trading Standards and the HSE will expect manufacturers to comply. It is best practice to use new standard ladders, for the safety of yourself or your employees.

Further Information

If you are still unsure about any ladder classes or what class you need to purchase please don't hesitate to get in touch and speak to our expert team. You can email us via our contact form or give us a call on 01204 590 232

We have a wide range of step ladders and extension ladders that conform to the new classifications as mentioned above, should you be in the market for a new set of stepladders.