The standard has changed, and we want to summarise the key points to help prepare you and your business for the changes that are to come. British standards are never the most exciting of subjects and can strike fear when there are announced, but equally they are important when it comes to protecting you, your staff and your business and can often bring positive change.

The changes that have been made to the ladder standard BS:EN:131 are big ones and you really cannot afford to miss them. The HSE reported in November 2020 that “almost half of all construction accidents (47%) were from falls from height.” “There were 40 fatal injuries in 2019/20, slightly up on the 5-year average of 37 per year.”

HSE Injuries 2020

HSE Report Can be reviewed here

The report outlines the importance of safety when working at height. We believe the changes made to the standard will help reduce these figures and in turn increase the safety of working at height in your workplace.

So, you want to know the changes and how they are going to affect you. In short there are 3 key changes that have been made that will affect the manufacturing of ladders to improve their safety.

  1. Load Rating – A minimum load rating capacity of 150Kg for all ladders. The new standard ensures that all ladders will have a minimum WLL of 150kg.
  2. Dimensions – Extension ladders over 3m high will have to wider base for increased stability.
  3. Durability – A new cycle durability test has been introduced of a way of proving durability.

When did this come into effect and when do you need to take action?

From January 2018 all new ladders must be designed to adhere to BS:EN:131

The 31st December 2018, was the target transition date for the Ladder Association and reputable suppliers.

Yes, you can still use your existing ladders, if they are in good condition there is no requirement for you to change them, but you should consider updating them as soon as feasibly possible. You should also consider updating any purchasing policies to specify latest version BS:EN:131.

During the transition period, ladders certified to the previous version of EN:131, BS:2037 and BS:1129 could still be sold to enable suppliers to clear their stocks. The standards apply to existing ladders, meaning they do not need to be replaced immediately if they are in good condition. The revision sets a new minimum, to ensure even the most basic products are designed to be safer.

In summary, the new ladder standard has bought and will continue to bring in some big changes for manufacturers. Manufacturers will have to adapt their ladder design and will hopefully make working at height safer for the end users. We could potentially see some brilliant engineering and some innovative solutions to the new changes the latest BS:EN:131 Standard. These updates may bring whole load of changes to the end user too, ladder training and the use of ladders may differ, and we could potentially see an increase to the cost of manufacturing and subsequently the products themselves, but can we put a price on the safety of working at height?

Branach BS:EN:131 compliant ladders available here: