If you work in a job that involves working at height, chances are that you will be fairly well-acquainted with the humble ladder.
However, what you might not be so familiar with is the recent change in ladder regulations that has rocked the UK ladder industry to its very core…
What is EN131?
Okay, while that last statement may be a little bit of a stretch, the fact remains: new ladder regulations have indeed been implemented in the UK and the times they are a-changing.
Luckily, for ladder users nationwide, things are looking up!
The new and improved EN131 regulation was introduced in January 2018, replacing the old version of the same name. After a year’s grace period, the new ruling came into official effect in January 2019.
The move represented the changing of the guard and signalled to the industry that both Trading Standards and the HSE will expect all new ladders created thereafter to adhere to the new rule.
But what exactly is this new rule and how does it affect you?
To handle such laddery queries, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to the EN131 regulation for questions just like that.
Why did it change?
When it comes to working with ladders, one thing is for sure – it certainly has its ups and downs… and ups and down… and ups and downs...
However, while regulatory changes can often spell headaches for those directly affected, the recent change in ladder regulations is actually a change for the better in many ways.
Prior to the updated amendments, UK ladder regulations were split into three categories: covering industrial, trade and domestic use.
However, the old version of the EN131 had some gaping holes in its armour, notably the absence of slip, stability, strength and durability precautions.
As these are generally the key areas that account for primary causes of ladder-related accidents, the European Commission set about making a change.
As a result, the new and improved EN131 was created and released to the world like a new iPhone, boasting all the perks of previous model but with a few tweaks and handy new features attached.
Fresh from its regulatory facelift, the EN131 now uses a simplified two-class system, clearly dividing ladders into either professional or non-professional categorisation.
The new ruling should (in theory) harmonise standards for ladders across the board, ensuring that all ladders meet the minimum safety standards required.
While there’s very little in terms of wholesale changes, the EN131 does feature numerous essential criteria in the interest of user safety.
According to the amended regulation, all ladders over 3m must now feature stabilisers and be appropriately tested. Meanwhile, all new ladders must also have an MWL of at least 150kg.
Do I need to change my ladders?
While the new ladder regulations should help keep ladder manufacturers on the up and up, what does that mean for ladder-using professionals nationwide?
If you already own ladders for work purposes – whether you’re a window cleaner, a roofer or Santa Claus – it’s worth remembering that this new regulation is a guideline for manufacturers creating ladders from now on.
As a result, the regulation change shouldn’t directly impact professionals, so don’t worry about any ladder inspectors stopping by to check the quality of your gear and repossess your equipment.
That being said, while professionals won’t be forced to replace their existing hardware, they will be expected/urged to upgrade to an EN131 certified ladder when their current one bites the dust.
Where can I buy EN131 certified ladders?
If your job involves working with ladders and you’re looking to take your ladder game to the next level, why not check out the range of ladders available at SLG today?
From step ladders and extension ladders to fibreglass ladders and telescopic ladders, we have everything you could ever need to help you up your game and take you straight to the top.
While you’re at it, be sure to breeze by our ladder safety equipment too. Our range of ladder safety kits are perfect for anyone looking to make working at height a little less hazardous.
For more information on any of the ladders available on SafetyLiftinGear.com, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0117 9381 600 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.