In 2018 there were legislation changes for the use of step ladders and ladders.
The new regulations for portable ladders and steps have been published as a single British and European standard EN 131: Ladders, replacing BS 2037 and BS 1129.
The changes were introduced in January 2018 and the 31st of December 2018 was the target transition date meaning that now, all ladders purchased should be sold under the EN131 standard.
The updated standard simplifies the buying and training process and includes two categories; EN 131 Professional (Industrial and trade) and EN 131 Non-Professional (domestic). Overall, the standard will improve ladder safety, stability and durability.
The new product standards do not apply retrospectively, therefore, existing ladders do not need to be replaced immediately if they are in good condition. The revision simply sets a new minimum, to ensure even the most basic DIY products are designed to be safer and more durable.
Ladders for industrial use
Those who require industrial use ladders should consider updating their purchase policies, to ensure EN 131
Professional ladders are specified when it’s time to replace existing ladders or buy new ones.
Ladders for domestic use
Those who simply require ladders for domestic use (DIY), can look for products that fall under any EN 131 category
(Non-Professional or Professional). Provided the ladder will only be used to complete DIY jobs, a Non-Professional
ladder will be adequate. However, if there is a chance of using it in a business manner, purchasing a Professional ladder would be recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I still use my existing ladders?
Yes, product standards do not apply retrospectively. Therefore, if they are in good condition, there is no immediate
requirement to change your existing ladders.
Does this also apply to industrial use?
Yes. However, businesses should consider updating their purchasing policies to be ready to specify EN 131
Can I buy a ladder with a CE Mark?
It is currently not possible to legally CE mark a ladder. If you see a ladder with a CE mark, steer clear and do
not purchase it.
Do I need retraining to adhere to the new standards?
If you currently hold a Ladder Association LadderCard you do not need to retrain, as the current training is compliant
with the new EN 131 standard. Those using ladders in a professional environment will need to go through a training programme that equips them with the essentials on using, handling and storing a ladder safely.
Does every company have to change its ladders?
Ladders that are well maintained and in good condition do not need to be changed immediately, however, when
businesses are looking to replace ladders, they should be purchasing products that adhere to the new standard;
unless it’s in the initial transition period where older products will still be available.
I’m self-employed, does this affect me too?
Yes, if you are using ladders and stepladders in a professional manner, you will need to take note of the new standards. You won’t need to replace your ladders immediately if they are in good condition, however, when you get around to replacing your products, you will need to ensure they are compliant to the new standard.
How do I know if I’m buying the correct ladder?
It’s always best to shop at a reputable company to ensure the products you’re purchasing are of the highest quality. It’s
also good practice to check the specification, label and user instructions to check the product complies with the latest
version of EN 131. It’s worth noting, however, that during the initial transition period, it will still be possible to buy ladders under the old standard. This is perfectly legal, as suppliers are simply clearing their existing stocks.
How do I ensure that my staff are using the correct equipment when working at height?
We recommend conducting a site audit that helps you to identify the most appropriate access equipment, and
ensures you are using it safely. Get in touch with us to enquire about our site audits.