A new EN131 standard is being implemented by the European Union resulting in the current ladder standards changing on the 1st January 2018.
The new standard will amend the current regulations and introduce a classification of use as either EN131 Non-Professional for domestic use and EN131 Professional which will be for commercial use. The intention of this change is to address the durability and stability of ladders.
There will be an as yet unspecified transition period to allow the introduction of the new standard, allowing manufacturers time to implement the changes within the standards to their new products. There is no need to change your existing ladders immediately as all ladders will remain legally compliant until they are deemed ready for replacement. It is important to ensure that your ladders are regularly inspected and fit for purpose.
The Health and Safety Executive state “Ladders can be used for work at height when a risk assessment has shown that using equipment offering a higher level of fall protection is not justified because of the low risk and short duration of use; or there are existing workplace features which cannot be altered”.
When deciding to use a ladder in a certain situation, it is important to first consider the risk. It is not acceptable to use short duration as a deciding factor, for example at the expense of other potential risks.
You will need to be a competent person to use a ladder, and have had the instruction and understanding of how to use it safely. The user must understand and comply with the stated Maximum Vertical Static Load indicated on the label. Consult the manufacturer if in doubt.
The current classifications are;
Class 1 - Industrial 175kg
Class EN131 - Commercial 150kg
Class III - Domestic 125kg
Class III will be withdrawn and replaced with the new EN131 which will be split between Professional and Non Professional.