According to the Labour Force Survey, 609,000 cases of work-related injuries or accidents were reported in 2016/17. Many of those accidents involved ladders…
Within the construction industry alone, RIDDOR found there were 5,055 injuries reported – of which 18% occurred from falling from a height. A further 49% of the 30 fatal injuries reported were also the result of falling from a height – making it the main cause of fatal injuries in 2016/17.
As of January 2018, the EN 131 product standards – which cover all types of portable ladders – have been substantially revised. These new standards are intended to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities in the workplace. The guidelines include new design and testing requirements relating to structural stability and load capacity, such as the below:
- Any leaning ladder over 3m will require a stabiliser bar
- Ladders will now be designed and tested to take a maximum total load of 150kg including the user, their tools, equipment and any materials
- Professional ladders will be subject to tougher durability requirements, because they are expected to be exposed to more onerous use
- The stiles will now be tested to hold a load of 2,700N (for professional ladders) or 2,250 (non-professional ladders)
- New tests will be required for the feet of ladders – once the test weight is applied, the ladder must not move more than 40mm within 1 minute
- Torsion tests will be carried out on both step ladders and leaning ladders
These changes will help improve the safety of ladders and make buying the right ladder both simpler and safer.
As a manufacturer, Zarges has been leading the way when it comes to informing construction and industrial companies about the implications of the EN 131 standards – and is already offering ladders that meet the new requirements.
The find out more about the new EN 131 standards, check out this FREE comprehensive guide from The Ladder Association.