Explanations to the standard change from 2018-01-01
Changes in part 1 of EN 131
Widened stand for leaning ladders
According to the new standard, all ladders that can be used as leaning ladders and are longer than 3 m when extended must be furnished with a widened stand (e.g. in the form of a cross-beam).
The length of the stabiliser (cross-beam) depends on the ladder length, but is limited to a maximum of 1.2 m.
Blocking removable ladder sections
For extension ladders or combination ladders for which the upper ladder section could be removed and used separately, this section must (insofar as it is longer than 3,000 mm) either be secured against removal or likewise be furnished with a widened stand, which, however, must not impair safe usage.
This primarily concerns extension ladders with more than 2 × 10 rungs as well as three-section combination ladders with more than 3 × 10 rungs.
Changes in part 2 of EN 131
Two different ladder classes
Also new is the future classification of ladders in two categories:
ladders for professional use (Pro)
ladders for non-professional use (Personal)
The ladders have to be tested according to different test requirements, depending on their class:
Durability test for step ladders:
50,000 cycles for ladders for professional use
10,000 cycles for ladders for non-professional use
2,700 N test load for ladders for professional use
2,250 N test load for ladders for non-professional use
Changes in part 3 of EN 131
Marking of the ladders and multilingual operating instructions for each ladder type.
Changes in part 4 of EN 131
Ladders which can be used as leaning ladders and are longer than 3m in extended state must be equipped with a wider base up to maximum 1.2m (e.g. by means of bars and stabilisers).
Multi-purpose ladders with 4×3 rungs that can be used as working platforms must be supplied by the manufacturer with an appropriate platform.
Before ladders can be brought into circulation, the manufacturer is required to subject them to a number of different tests. NEW: In the durability test for jointed ladders, the test load must be applied to the top two treads/rungs.
Consequences of the new standard specifications
Until 31 December, 2017, the old versions of EN 131 Part 1 and Part 2 will still be valid in parallel with the new versions. Until 31 Mai, 2020, the old versions of EN 131 Part 4 will still be valid in parallel with the new versions.
After that date, manufacturers may only market ladders that correspond to the new standard.
How are the modifications of the standard important for retail and users?
or retail, the modifications to the standard have essentially no importance. Ladders that are in stock by retailers and correspond to the previous standard may continue to be sold even after 31 December 2017. In accordance with an interpretation paper from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) dated 3 December, 2013, products manufactured in accordance with the old standard remain legally compliant even after a standard is modified.
Neither private nor commercial users are obligated to exchange their ladders for a new one or to improve them. Even though the modification of Standard EN 131 further improves the safety of ladders, that does not automatically mean that ladders manufactured in accordance with the old standard are unsafe.
According to the German Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV), however, commercial users remain obligated to assess their work equipment at regular intervals as part of a risk assessment of suitability for its intended use as well as to evaluate its condition in terms of safety technology.
Therefore, we recommend that commercial users inspect their ladder inventory and, if necessary, retrofit their leaning ladders, extension ladders and rope-operated extension ladders with a cross-beam.