What is EN131 and how does it affect the UK?
In 2017, the British Standards and regulations on Ladders and Steps are changing. The BSI is scrapping BS2037 Class 1 Industrial and Class 3 Domestic to create two European wide categories – EN131 Domestic and EN131 Trade and Industrial. But what does this mean for you and your access equipment? We unravel everything you need to know about the new standards in today’s blog…
So, what is EN131?
EN131 is one of the European Union Certifications. It was created to ensure that portable ladders and steps, manufactured from metal and other specific materials, meet minimum safety requirements. At present, EN131 covers trade and light industrial use of portable ladders and steps. However, it is changing in November 2017 to also over heavy duty and industrial use (for professional users) and domestic use (for non-professional users) – with the addition two separate categories. Because of this, the BS2037 Class 1 Industrial and Class 3 Domestic standards will be withdrawn.
The new standard also comprises of three parts:
Part 1: Constructions
Part 2: Performance
Part 3: Instructions and CEN
By ensuring all three parts meet minimum standards, EN131 ensures well built, well performing, easy to use portable ladders and steps.
What do the changes mean?
The new standards will actually bring about a lot of positive changes; ensuring products are built with additional safety standards in mind. The additional requirements for portable ladders and steps will cover:
- Stability; for example, stabilisers will be introduced on ladders over 3 metres in height.
- Slip risks; for example, new slip tests will be introduced to test product safety.
- Durability; for example, new cycle durability tests will be introduced to check product durability.
- Strength in position of use; again, new tests will be put in place to rigorously test this criterion.
The criteria for each of these standards will vary depending on which category of the new standard the product falls under.
How will the new standard affect the workplace?
Trading Standards and HSE will expect any portable ladders and steps in use to comply with these new standards. That means that any portable ladders and steps in use in your facility should be tested and certified for compliance. Should they meet the new standards, they will be labelled with the new EN131 Standard and seen as fit for use.
If you choose to ignore the new standards, you won’t be breaking any laws – as there’s not legal requirement to conform to the standards – but you will run into problems with the HSE and Trading Standards. Both safety bodies expect manufacturers to comply by gradually replacing portable ladders and steps with ones that comply with the new standard.
Don’t forget that the Browns Ladders team can carry out independent inspections of your access equipment too. Find out more about our Ladder Safety Inspection Services today.