Guide to different ladders and their duty ratings
In the UK (and most of Europe), ladders and step ladders are manufactured in three grades or classifications according to their strength and durability. All three grades fall within the scope of BS 2037, the British standard for aluminium ladders, and bear the Kitemark. They are produced and classified according to the type of work they will be used for.
A few products are still outside of a classification but this is being worked on right now. Where a certification does not exist we supply ladders made in the same way as the certified option. Where there is a current European certification we will supply such a certified ladder and NOT an imported copy that is not certified.
Part of the regulations for classified ladders is that the ladder / step ladder will have a label on the side of it stating its classification – saying the label fell off etc. is not acceptable.
Class 1 – Industrial
Heavy duty industrial, regular use,unknown conditions of use. The maximum weight of user and tools i.e. the duty rating, is 130kg (175Kg static), that’s around 20st 6lbs.
BS/EN 131 (previously Class 2) – Light Trades
Low frequency use and less onerous conditions of use. The duty rating being 115kg, (150Kg static loading)that’s 18st.
Class 3 – Domestic
Occasional, light use only with a maximum duty rating of 95kg which is just 14st 13lbs. – Class 3 tends to be only used in the UK, and is almost extinct in most parts of Europe, the reason being is that often 95Kg is too low a rating, as a “man and hammer / drill) will often exceed 95Kg in weight, so we would always recommend a class 2 EN131 ladder, even if its just for domestic use.
It is also important to ensure that the ladder is at least long enough for the job, and the length should exceed the “step-off” height by at least 1.1m
Some HSE executives will still recommend or insist on class 1 industrial grade ladders as its better to be safe than sorry; IF the ladder is over rated it will not matter, however if you have a ladder with a lower duty rating than needed then you will be committing a criminal offence and could be liable, so if in any doubt we recommend using the highest rating possible (class 1 industrial use).
This information was taken from the main AUSTIN WHITE LADDERS LTD. website