Ladder Reg Changes – Keeping a Step Ahead
The British Standards and Regulations on Ladders and Steps will change in November 2017. The BS2037 Class I Industrial and Class III Domestic standards will be withdrawn and replaced with two harmonised European-wide categories – EN131 Domestic and EN131 Trade and Industrial.
The EN131 standard is being updated to help reduce ladder related accidents by including requirements for:
- Slip: new slip tests will be introduced
- Durability: new cycle durability tests will be introduced
- Stability: stabilisers will be introduced on ladders over 3 metres in height
- Strength in position of use: new tests will be introduced to test this criteria
Current EN131 ladder stock remains valid - as long as it meets the requirements of the EN131 standard and is labelled with an appropriate manufacturer’s licence number under a third party Quality Management Scheme such as TUV or BSi. Whilst there’s no legal requirement to conform to the standards the HSE and Trading Standards would expect companies to gradually update their ladder stock to comply with the new standard.
The requirement to check your ladder before you use it remains the same. You should always carry out a ‘pre-use’ check to spot any obvious visual defects to make sure the ladder is safe to use before starting a task, paying attention to areas such as:
- The stiles – make sure they are not bent or damaged, as the ladder could buckle or collapse.
- The feet – if they are missing, worn or damaged the ladder could slip.
- Check ladder feet when moving from soft/dirty ground (e.g. dug soil, loose sand/stone, a dirty workshop) to a smooth, solid surface (e.g. paving slabs) to make sure the foot material rather than transferred dirt (e.g. soil, chippings or embedded stones) is making contact with the ground.
- The rungs – if they are bent, worn, missing or loose the ladder could fail.
- The locking mechanisms – if they are bent or the fixings are worn or damaged the ladder could collapse. Ensure any locking bars are engaged.
SG World's Pre Use Ladder Inspection system is a simple way of getting users to check their ladders for dangerous defects and stop faulty ladders being used.