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Standards and Regulations

UK LADDER CLASSIFICATIONS

In the UK there are 3 classification levels for aluminum ladders and step ladders. These are determined by the type of work that they will be used for, with all 3 classifications being within the scope of BS 2037. The individual ratings are:

Class 1 - Industrial Ladders.
These are very heavy duty aluminum ladders with a load rating of 175kg (27.5 stones). They would normally be used for heavy industrial or site work, although may, of course, be used around the home or workplace.

EN 131 Trade Ladders (previously Class 2)
These "Trade Quality" ladders are the most popular grade of aluminum ladder in Europe at present (EN 131 is a European wide standard) and carry a load rating of 150kg (23.5 stones). They are suitable for use by in the workplace (except as above) and for home use.

Class 3 - Domestic Ladders
These "DIY" aluminum ladders are produced solely for domestic use and carry a load rating of 95kg (15 stones). They are very lightweight and are not suitable for use in the workplace.

UK SCAFFOLD TOWER CLASSIFICATIONS:

Unlike ladders, there are no UK standards at the present time for Scaffold Towers, with the HSE relying on The Working at Height Regulations to promote safe practice. However some manufacturers choose to apply for a product standard, the main one being EN1004. The highest rating being Class 3, and the lowest Class 1. In the UK these standards are known as BSEN1004.


THE WORK AT HEIGHT REGULATIONS

The purpose of this document is to give you an overview of these regulations. Below we have included links to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) web site for comprehensive details of this legislation.

On 6 April 2005, the The Work at Height Regulations 2005 came into force, consolidating previous UK and European legislation on work at heights. The Regulations apply to any work at a height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause injury. This includes work below ground level and at a low height. The Regulations place duties on employers, the self-employed, and any person that controls the work of others (for example facilities managers or building owners who may contract others to work at height).

As part of the Regulations, duty holders must ensure:

  • All work at height is properly planned and organised.
  • those involved in work at height are competent.
  • the risks from work at height are assessed and appropriate work equipment is selected and used.
  • the risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled.
  • equipment for work at height is properly inspected and maintained.


  • The HSE has determined a simple hierarchy for managing and selecting equipment for work at height. In this, duty holders must:

  • avoid work at height where they can.
  • use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working at height.
  • where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur.


  • According to the HSE, common factors resulting in falls from height include:

  • Failure to provide safe systems of work.
  • Failure to ensure that safe systems of work are followed.
  • Inadequate information, instruction, training or supervision provided.
  • Failure to use appropriate equipment.
  • Failure to provide safe plant/equipment.


  • The HSE's key messages on preventing falls from height are:

  • Follow good practice for work at height.
  • Follow your risk assessment, plan and organise your work properly and make sure everyone involved is competent to their level or responsibility.
  • Try to avoid the need for work at height where you can. Where you can't, take steps to prevent falls, where you cannot prevent a fall then you must mitigate the risk of injury should a fall occur.
  • Always select collective measures to prevent falls (such as guardrails and working platforms) before other measures which may only mitigate the distance and consequences of a fall or which may only provide personal protection from a fall.


  • This is only a summary of The Working At Height Regulations. For full details please visit:

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20050735

    and

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/uksi_20070114_en_1