When it comes to buying ladders and access equipment, there’s plenty of important factors to keep in mind. One crucial consideration that you may not know you need to make is whether the product is approved to the most recent EN131 standard. So, what exactly is this and what does it mean for you?
What is EN131 and why was it introduced?
EN131 was introduced to provide a harmonised standard for all portable ladders, creating just two standard classifications, one for professional use and one for non–professional, reflecting that there are differences in the requirements for the performance of the ladder.
Can I continue using my existing ladders?
One of the biggest misconceptions around EN131 is that existing ladders are no longer safe to use and must immediately be replaced. This is not true; you can continue using existing ladders as long as they are well maintained. However, once your existing ladder reaches the end of its life and needs to be replaced, it is recommended that any new ladder purchased for work in the trade is certified to the latest EN131 standard and is suited for professional use.
You should also keep in mind any requirements set out by site managers, as some construction sites require tradesmen to have ladders approved to the latest EN131 standard for any work being carried out.
Does EN131 cover all types of ladder?
Within the standard, there are different parts set out for ladder categories. Part 4 relates to multi-function hinged ladders; Part 6 relates to telescopic ladders and Part 7 to ladders with platforms.
However, some ladder categories fall outside of the EN131 standard so it’s important to understand safety requirements for the type of ladder they need. For example, you should refer to EN14183 for stepstools and EN14975 for loft ladders. Roof ladders have a general safety standard, but this ladder category is currently under review for a new standard to be released in the near future.
Will I need new training to learn about the latest EN131 standard?
Training is essential for anybody working at height to guarantee your safety, and it’s important that this is not put on hold despite the current situation. For those who have already completed its training, The Ladder Association has confirmed that those holding a Ladder Card will not need retraining and their certification will still be valid.
If you haven’t already completed training, you can find out more about The Ladder Association’s new online training here. Alternately, WernerCo’s Ladder Association approved face-to-face training sessions have been adapted to adhere to social distancing guidelines. To book your place, contact the team on 01621 745 900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on EN131 and how these changes affect ladder users, take a look at WernerCo’s handy guide here. To find out more information on the range of access solutions from WernerCo, visit wernerco.com