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Are Your Ladders to EN131 Standards?

EN131 standards cover the minimum requirements needed for portable steps and ladders manufactured from metal (and certain other materials such as GRP) to be considered safe to use. These are European committee for standardisation (CEN) harmonised standards which have been put in place to reduce risks and prevent ladder accidents from happening.

Ladder in use

Recently, these standards have been changed. Keep reading our quick guide to find out how they are different and how this impacts you.

When did EN131 Standards change?

The change has been spilt into three parts, with the full change coming fully into effect on January 1st, 2019.

  • Part 1 - Terms, Types & Functional sizes (Effective from 1st January 2018)
  • Part 2 – Testing (Effective from 1st January 2018)
  • Part 3 - Marking & User Instructions (Introduced in January 2018 and effective from January 2019)

How have EN131 Standards changed?

Previously in the UK, there were three main standards for ladders (EN131, BS2037 / BS1129 Class 1, and BS2037 / BS1129 Class 3). After the changes came into effect, they have turned into one standard with two classifications. This is due to the fact that two of the original standards were merged into one classification, and the third was made into the second. 


Ladder in use

What are the two new classifications?

To put it simply, they are EN131 Professional and EN131 Non-Professional. Both of these classifications fall under one standard which is the well-known EN131 Standard.

  • EN131 Professional: Suitable for both trade and industrial purposes. The maximum capacity is 150kg, with professional standard ladders being tested five times more than a non-professional ladder.
  • EN131 Non-Professional: Suitable for domestic and DIY use. This classification is able to hold a 150kg load but the ladders within this classification are tested a little less vigorously.

How do I know if a ladder is compliant with EN131?

If your ladder does not come with an EN131 label, it is highly likely not to be EN131. This is because products must undergo rigorous testing and are labelled to show their compliance with the standards.



Ladder in use

Is compliance required?

In the past, ladder standards in the UK were optional. However, with that being said the UK has now fully participated in the standards development. This means that both the Trading Standards and the HSE will expect new ladders to comply after the period of grace which ended in January 2019.

We hope you have found this quick guide on EN131 Standards to be beneficial. 

If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact our friendly and knowledge team who will be more than happy to help.




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Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.

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