What is the difference between a Fibreglass and an Aluminium Ladder?

Fibreglass ladders can be used where an electrical hazard exists. It is recommended and in most cases mandatory to use fibreglass ladders instead of aluminium in such applications. Fibreglass ladders provide electrical insulation between the user and the earth thus reducing (but not necessarily eliminating) the potential risk of electrocution.

How do I select the correct ladder for the job I need to do?

Step 1: Choose the height

Choose the correct height of the ladder that you need for your job. The maximum reach for several ladder heights assuming a 1.7m tall person with a vertical reach of another 0.3m. The maximum safe working height is typically 1.5 metres above the maximum allowable climb height.

Step 2: Choose the application

If you are going to use the ladder for commercial purposes, you must use an Industrial rated ladder with a minimum load rate of 130 kg.

However, if you are going to use the ladder at a private dwelling for non-commercial purposes, you can use a Domestic ladder with a minimum load rating of 95 kg.

Note: The load rating includes the total combined weight of the person and any tools/equipment and materials that the user may be carrying.

Step 3: Choose a ladder style

Choosing the correct ladder for the style of job you are doing is important. Take the time to understand the different styles available. This may include Single-Sided, Double-sided, Platform Step Ladders, Dual Purpose, Extension Ladders or Access Towers.

Remember!! If you are working with or around electricity you should be using a Fibreglass product.

What should I do before I use my ladder?

It is recommended that your ladder should be inspected prior to use. The following should be undertaken:

  • Check for damage or missing components.
  • Check for loose or missing bolts or rivets.
  • Check ladder feet for excessive wear.
  • Check ropes are not fraying and are securely attached.
  • Check that ladder stiles/rungs/treads are straight.
  • Check spreaders are in good order.
  • Check that the ladder is free from dust, water, grease and corrosion.
  • Clean a ladder with mild soapy water and ensure it is dry prior to use.
  • Check timber ladders for splits, rot, and insect infestation.
  • Never paint a timber ladder. Use a clear varnish (suitable for exterior or marine environments) so that defects are not hidden.
  • If a ladder possesses any defect take it out of service immediately and replace it.
  • Store ladders in a dry, covered location.
  • Exposure to excessive heat may weaken a ladder.
  • If the ladder has sustained a blow or impact carefully check the ladder for defects prior to next use.
  • Fibreglass ladders will over time degrade and fibres may become exposed. Wash the ladder with a commercial solvent and apply enough coats of polyurethane or clear acrylic lacquer to encapsulate the fibres.

How do I transport my ladder safely?

When transporting a ladder on a vehicle ensure that the following points are observed:

  • The ladder is supported along its length to prevent sagging.
  • The overhang beyond supports is equal and less than 1/3 of the length of the ladder.
  • The ladder is securely tied down to prevent road shock and chaffing. Do not over-tighten as this may damage the ladder.
  • The upper surface of roof racks and/ or other supports should be covered with soft material, such as rubber or pine, to decrease road shock.

How do I repair my damaged ladder?

For the safety of the user Youngman® does not recommend repairing a damaged ladder and does not offer a repair service through the company.

Where can I get information about ladder safety?

All the information you require can be found here on the website and by participating in our ladder safety training program. To learn more click here: Ladder Safety Training.

Puzzled by EN131?

What is EN131 and how does it affect the UK?

EN131 is a European Union Certification for portable steps and ladders, manufactured from metal and certain other materials such as GRP. It covers minimum safety requirements.
There are currently 3 standards for ladders in the UK
• EN131 is for trade and light industrial use;
• BS2037/BS1129 Class 1 for heavy duty and industrial use; and
• BS2037/BS1129 Class 3 is for domestic use.
There are separate standards for stepstools (EN14183) and loft ladders (EN14975).

Why is EN131 changing?

The European Commission is dissatisfied with elements of the existing standard and has issued an EC Mandate for the standard to include additional requirements for stability, slip, durability and strength in position of use which will help in preventing the main causes of ladder related accidents

How is EN131 changing?

A harmonised standard will be introduced in the UK in January 2018 which revokes any existing national versions.

The UK has differed from other European countries with a standard specific to ladders intended for domestic use (BS 2037:1994 class 3) and with the proposed introduction of the new EN131 this domestic standard will be withdrawn.

BS2037/BS1129 Class 1 for heavy duty and industrial use will also be withdrawn.

There will be two new categories for ladders under EN131; one for professional users and one for non- professional users reflecting that there are differences in the requirement for performance of the ladder.

Will the introduction of the new harmonised EN131 affect the range and availability of domestic use (Class 3) products in the UK?

Yes, Class 3 will be withdrawn and replaced by the new EN131 Non Professional rating.

Will the introduction of the new harmonised EN131 affect the range and availability of Industrial use (Class 1) products in the UK?

Yes, Class 1 will be withdrawn and replaced by the new EN131 Professional rating.

Will compliance be optional?

Ladder standards in the UK are optional but as the UK has participated fully in the standards development, Trading Standards and the HSE will expect ladders to comply.

Changes to these regulations are not anticipated post Brexit.

What are the main differences between EN131 and BS 2037?

Many of the characteristics of the standards are similar but the new EN131 will introduce stabilisers on ladders over 3m, new slip tests, new cycle durability tests, as well as new tests for ladders in the position of use.

When will the new harmonised EN131 come into force in the UK?

There are three main parts to the new Standard: Part 1 Constructions, Part 2 Performance and Part 3 Instructions and CEN, the European Committee for Standardisation, has agreed that Part 1 and 2 should be implemented together in the UK by January 2018.

How will I know if a product is compliant with EN131?

Products will need to be independently tested and certified for compliance and labelled with the new EN131 Standard.

What happens to products that do not comply with EN131?

There is no legal requirement to conform to standards in the UK but safety bodies such as Trading Standards and the HSE will expect manufacturers to comply. They will not expect main users such as utility companies to stop using their current products but as they replace their ladders they should comply to the new standard.

Puzzled By EN 131
(EN 131 Q&A)

Why should I buy a Youngman® ladder?

Youngman is associated with safety, quality and innovation. Years of tradition and a wealth of experience have led to Youngman’s success and recognition as a world leading supplier and provider of innovative access equipment. Our products are designed and manufactured to the highest quality and safety standards. Youngman focus on end users’ needs and continually improve customer satisfaction, quality and business performance.

Our products are trade approved as well as being the popular choice for serious DIYers. Products are available from leading trade outlets throughout the UK.