Updated: Ladder Standards Are Changing in 2018 - Here's What We Know So Far

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Following the 2017 Ladder Association AMM and Conference, the Association has prepared a guide to the changes in European and UK standards to help buyers, users and specifiers understand those changes and confirm the Association’s position on the matter. The guide was expected to be released before now however the impromptu general election restricted government bodies from making policy decisions during this time and so the process was delayed.  

There is a lot of questions being asked by our customers recently and we'd just like to clear up a few things regarding the changes coming into effect in January 2018. 

What is happening

Product standards for portable ladders are changing. These changes will help improve the safety of ladders and make buying the right ladder simpler and safer. BS EN 131 – the single British & European product standard covering all types of portable ladders has been substantially revised. Under the new standards, there will be two EN131 classifications, Professional and Non-Professional. These will replace the current Class 1 standards. Under new EN131 standards, any leaning ladder over 3m will require a stabiliser bar. Testing on the new ladders have also changed, details of this can be found below in the summary. 

What about other products covered by British Standards?

Class 1 lightweight stagings and trestles will still be available as certified products.

When will this happen?

The revised EN 131 standards are now published and manufacturers are in the process of changing over to new designs, which meet the requirements of the revised standard. 

Can I still use my existing ladders?

YES, product standards do not apply retrospectively. If your ladders are in good condition there is no immediate requirement to change your existing ladders just because the product standards are revised or withdrawn.

What is the Ladder Association’s guidance?

During the transition period you will still be able to buy ladders certified to BS 2037, BS 1129 and the superseded EN131 as suppliers clear their existing stocks and, whilst this is perfectly acceptable, this will diminish over time as supplies are exhausted.

Once supplies are exhausted there is still no immediate need to purchase new ladders if your existing ladders are in good condition. If your ladders conforming to the old standard do become damaged or unfit for the use you should then purchase new ladders conforming to the new revised EN131 standard. If you’re not sure which product is right for you, don't hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team on 01204 590 232 or Contact Us via our online form.

Summary Of The Changes

  • The Class 1 classification for portable ladders is being replaced by EN131 Professional.
  • Stagings and trestles will still be available as Class 1 certified products
  • All ladders that are 3m or longer that can be used as a leaning ladder are required to have a base stabiliser under the new standards
  • The stiles are now tested to hold a load of 2,700N (Professional) or 2,250 (Non-Professional) 
  • New Standards test the feet of the ladder, the test weight is applied and the ladder musn't move no more than 40mm within 1 minute.
  • Torsion tests are carried out on both step ladders and leaning ladders.
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