What to look for when you are buying or borrowing
Many different designs are available, from small ‘step stools’ to larger stepladders and combination designs which can be converted into extending ladders.
The type bought most often are the 4 to 7 step folding versions, as illustrated in this Guide. These are suited to many jobs around the house, but it’s very important never to use any stepladder that is the wrong height for the particular job you are doing. Some are too shortfor high work, and some - just as dangerous - are too tall for lower work. You must be able to do your work comfortably without over-reaching up, down or sideways.
All stepladders should meet the required British or European standards - check this whenever you buy, hire or borrow one.
Is it strong enough?
New stepladders are generally marked according to their safe working load. This classification however, can vary slightly in the values given, and has caused confusion. The variation is due to the different way in which the values for safe working are expressed. In the British Standard it is “Duty rating”. These have been arrived at by taking into account the general conditions and probable frequency of use for each type. The European Standard uses “Maximum static vertical load”. To help clarify this, we have given both sets of figures.
British Standard stepladders to BS 2037 (Aluminium) or BS 1129 (Wood) or BS 7377 (Step-stools).
Class 1 (Industrial)
Duty rating 130kg (20 stone) - Maximum vertical static load 175kg.
Class 3 (Domestic)
Duty rating 95kg (15 stone) - Maximum vertical static load 125kg.
European Standard stepladders to BS/EN 131 (All types)
(Previous Class 2)
Duty rating 115kg (18 stone) - Maximum vertical static load 150kg.
Most stepladder accidents are caused by human error, not by ladders failing. Any equipment in poor condition is potentially dangerous, so do this quick check before each job.
usually get these from the manufacturer.
Avoid falls and injuries from equipment by following the points below for every job.
On the stepladder
When the job is done
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