Ladder Standards Cheat Sheet
|Classification: EN131 Professional / EN131 Non-Professional
|Portable Roof Ladders
|Classification: - BS 8634 – Portable roof ladders
|Classification: No Classification
|Classification: BS EN131-7 / No Classification
|Classification: EN 14975 / No Classification
|Classification: EN 1004
|Classification: BS 8620
As you may be aware ladder standards changed in 2019 for portable ladders and steps, with the introduction of EN131 Professional and Non-Professional, however, there is still confusion over the standards across our ranges. We often get customers asking for an EN131 Podium or Warehouse Step, which suggests there is still confusion when it comes to standards. This cheat sheet aims to help with this and gives you information on which standards to look out for when purchasing various categories of steps.
We’ll first start from the beginning, explaining what ladder standards are and explaining why they are important before discussing portable ladders, warehouse steps, loft ladders, podiums & towers.
What is a ladder standard?
Ladder standards are a collection of agreed-upon specifications that influence how a product is designed, manufactured, and used. Ladder standards are established to make ladders safer and keep the end user safe. Ladder standards are typically created by the governing body which understands how the products should be used and can be improved from a safety perspective.
Why are ladder standards important?
Ladder standards are important as certified products offer maximum safety and comfort to an end user when working at height, preventing falls and injury. Unfortunately, accidents still do occur when using certified products, however, this is typically down to user error, which suggests how important competency and training are.
Ladder standards in part can also help when selecting the right equipment for the job. For example, in the case of a portable ladder, a domestic ladder certified to EN131 Non-Professional could be the perfect choice for changing lightbulbs or for a spot of decorating on an infrequent basis, however heavier use and in all businesses EN131 Professional is the only ladder standard that should be used for portable ladders.
When purchasing a ladder to a standard be sure to purchase from a reputable retailer and if unsure request the testing certificate. All ladders that are certified go through rigorous testing to ensure they pass the requirements.
EN131 Changes of 2018
As we mentioned above, standards for portable ladders ie step ladders, extension ladders, telescopic ladders ect have recently been changed. In previous years (before the change) there were three standards of portable ladders. These were Class 3, for domestic use, EN131 for trade and professional use and Class 1 for industrial use. From 2018 Class 1 for portable ladders has been withdrawn and there are now two standards, EN131 Non-Professional & EN131 Professional.
What does it mean to have a ladder tested to the EN131 standard?
If your ladder has been tested to BS EN131, it means it complies with the British portable ladder standard. The EN131 standard improves ladder safety by making them wider, stronger (up to a weight limit of 150kg), and sturdier, with new stabiliser bars at the base, if the ladder is longer than 3m.
For more detail on what EN131 entails check out our blog post; Are you puzzled by EN131. Below we will continue this article by looking at the different product categories on our website and what standard you should purchase too.
Classification: EN131 Professional / EN131 Non-Professional
Step ladders, extension ladders and combination ladders are all portable ladders and therefore fall under either EN131 Professional or EN131 Non-Professional. This classification has been made quite simple to understand; if you are buying for use in a business you purchase to the EN131 Professional standard, if you are buying for use in a domestic setting for around the home, EN131 Non-Professional is the standard to purchase.
EN131 Professional and Non-Professional are both tested to a maximum capacity of 150kg, the difference in certification being how many times they are put through the testing and how much strain the ladder must undergo, for example, to pass EN131 Non-Professional standards the ladder must go through 10,000 cycles, EN131 Professional must survive a 50,000-cycle test.
Other tests include strength tests, torsion tests, bend tests, slip tests and much more, the main difference between the new standard from an end user point of view is that all leaning ladders over 3m now require a stabiliser bar.
Telescopic ladders come under the certification of EN131 Part 6, this is the section of the EN131 standard specifically for telescopic ladders. Again, when a telescopic ladder is certified to this standard if the length of the ladder is 3m or over a stabiliser bar is required. Other requirements for a telescopic ladder to comply to EN131 Part 6 is to ensure that each rung is locked when the ladder is in use and there is a visible sign of this. Soft closing of the ladder is also popular with the EN131-6 standard as it avoids hands being trapped when the ladder collapses. As with other ladders in the EN131 category these ladders then also undergo strength, durability and slip testing.
Telescopic ladders have been at the forefront of testing by the Test and Research Centre and the Ladder Association recently due to inadequate and unsafe product flooding the market in well-known retail brands on supermarkets. When purchasing a telescopic ladder, check this conforms to part six of the standard and if in any doubt request the certificate.
Classification: - BS 8634 – Portable roof ladders
MORE INFO TO COME
Folding step stools come under the EN14183 category. The EN13183 is a European standard, and this is the category that covers step stools only. The step stools can be made from steel, aluminium, or plastic, they can be up to 1m tall and have a maximum load of 150kg.
The standard specifies the requirements for the below to meet the standard:
Classification: No Classification
Hop Ups don’t have a standard to be manufactured or tested to. When purchasing a hop up or work platform ensure that you purchase from a reputable manufacturer. By using hop ups from the likes of Werner, Youngman, Hymer, Clow and Chase you can have peace of mind that the materials and strength have been considered when manufactured.
Classification: BS EN131-7 / No Classification
Warehouse steps are not as straightforward as other ladders when it comes to classification. In 2016 standards were amended and EN131 Part 7 included ‘mobile’ steps. Which specifies wheels / castors in the standards. However, the standard was not ratified. This means that many companies do not test their warehouse steps to this standard. Redhill warehouse steps are currently one of the only UK manufacturers that have steps available to this specification.
Other warehouse steps are like roof ladders, they are built to cover most elements of EN131 as they technically have no standard to comply to. The warehouse steps on our site that are not covered by EN131-7, we have only added to the site when we’ve reviewed the quality in person.
The main standards covering mobile warehouse steps are the British Standard EN131-7 : 2015. These only cover platform lengths between 400 & 1000mm.
Classification: EN 14975 / No Classification
Loft ladders are another classification that is not a legal requirement and therefore you’ll find many loft ladders do not have a standard. Some loft ladders from the most well-known brands including Werner and Youngman have ranges that conform to EN 14975. This standard covers loads and the operation of the ladder to ensure they are safe for use. Something else to consider when purchasing a loft ladder is fire rating and other elements of the building regulations.
Classification: EN 1004
Mobile towers should conform to EN 1004, this is the only way you can ensure that your mobile tower is safe to use. When purchasing to EN 1004 your tower should be; marked with the correct EN1004 label, have safety trapdoors with entry and exits, have the correct sizes of stabilisers to prevent overturning, and have all guardrails present with the correct heights. Requirements of the EN 1004 Standard include;
Classification: BS 8620
When purchasing a new podium step the classification to look for is BS 8620. If you currently have a podium step and it's certified to PAS 250 do not worry, this standard has since been replaced, but if your PAS 250 podium step is still maintained and inspected, and deemed to be in good condition you can continue to use this. The BS 8620 classification has increased dimensional changes to the side protection and now undergoes stricter testing. The general requirements for BS 8620 include:
Talk With One of Our Ladder Experts
At Ladderstore, we have a team of ladder training and qualified staff who can advise you on the best ladders for the job. We strive to provide the safest product for the task at hand, which includes ensuring that all the products we supply are certified to the most recent standards, and we can even quote for bespoke solutions for those more unique queries.
Give one of our team a call on 01204 590 232 to learn more or contact us with your working at height concerns, and one of our team members will respond with the ideal working at height solution.