If you are purchasing, hiring or even borrowing a ladder – what should you be looking for?
Posted: 18th February 2015
If you find yourself in the position where you are needing to purchase or hire a ladder, do you know what you have to do to comply with the Working at Height Regulations 2005. Our Managing Director, Steve Booker, provides some guidance on what you need to be aware of before making a purchase.
First, all of the ladders you use should meet the required British (BS) or European (EN) standard. Depending to which standard and specification the ladder has been manufactured to will determine whether or not that ladder is strong enough for your task and loadings.
Second, you should ensure that you carry out a full pre-use inspection of the ladder to ensure it is fit for purpose and not damaged.
Can the Ladder take it – Is it strong enough?
New ladders are generally marked in accordance to their standard of manufacture and should display a safe working load. This loading limit however, can vary slightly in the values given, and has caused confusion. The variation is due to the different way in which the testing for safe working loads are carried out. In the British Standard it is “Duty Rating” and have been arrived at by taking into account the general conditions and probably frequency of use for each type of ladder and it’s use. The European Standard (EN131) uses “Maximum Static Vertical Load” when calculating the safe loading.
To help clarify this, we have given a comparison of both sets of loading figures for the different classes. British Standard Ladders to either BS 2037 (Alloy) or BS 1129 (Wood) and European Standard Ladders to BS/EN 131 (All types materials).
- BS2037 – Class 1 – (Industrial) Duty rating 130kg (20 stone) = Maximum vertical static load 175kg
- BS1129 – Class 1 – (Industrial) Duty rating 130kg (20 stone) = Maximum vertical static load 175kg
- BS2037 – Class 3 – (Domestic) Duty rating 95kg (15 stone) = Maximum vertical static load 125kg
- BS1129 – Class 3 – (Domestic) Duty rating 95kg (15 stone) = Maximum vertical static load 125kg
- BS/EN 131 – (Formally Class 2) Duty rating 115kg (18stone) = Maximum vertical static load 150kg
Please remember that these figures indicate the minimum to meet the threshold of the meeting the standard and that many ladder manufacturers provide ladders and step ladders well in excess of these load bearing capacities. It is not un-common to find Ladders manufactured to EN131 having a static Vertical Ladder as high as 250kg. Always seek the manufacturer’s advice and guidance when selecting a suitable ladder or stepladder.
If you have any further questions, please call us on 0333 666 0555 where Steve will be happy to assist you further.