What is the EN131 standard for ladders?

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Just as people need to follow the legal constraints of society, products also have their own standards. For ladders, EN131 is such an existence.

As one of the most authoritative ladder testing standards in the world. Understanding EN131 means understanding most of the others as well. Because although the names of these standards are different, most of the testing requirements for the product are similar. A good quality ladder, no matter which country, with its standard to test it, is able to pass the minimum safety requirements. (not absolutely, there may be slight differences in the details).

That is to say, a ladder that can pass the EN131 test may also be able to pass the ANSI, AS/NZS1892 test.

We will not discuss other standards here. I will share the knowledge of EN131 with you. After reading it, you will be a half-expert in the field of ladders. It can help you purchase ladders more professionally and won’t be easily cheated by suppliers.

What Is EN131

EN131 is the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) harmonized standard for portable steps and ladders made of metal and certain other materials such as FRP. It covers minimum safety requirements.

It is a requirement for ladders sold in European countries and the UK. Some EU countries that take safety particularly won’t even import them without an EN131 certificate. So if you are going to sell ladders in Europe, you must find a manufacturer who can provide you with a certificate.

Is EN131 a global standard?

EN131 is a standard set by the European countries, it is not globally unified. But its influence is not limited to Europe. Some Southeast Asian countries also have a high degree of recognition of EN131.

Each country and region has its own standard. In the United States and some South American countries, their testing standard is ANSI. While in Australia and New Zealand, it is AS/NZS1892.1.

EN131 standard for different ladders

EN 131 has seven sections. The first three are the most relevant and are the basic requirements for all portable ladders. The last four are requirements for specific ladders.

EN 131-1: 2015+A1:2019 – Ladders – Terms, types, functional sizes
Describes definitions and key terms for different types of ladders and the mandatory sizes for each type.

  • One-piece leaning rung ladders
  • Sectional ladders
  • Extending ladders
  • Standing rung ladders
  • Combination ladders (2 section & 3 section)
  • Leaning step ladders
  • Standing step ladders
  • Standing rung and step ladder

EN 131-2: 2010+A2:2017 – Requirements, testing, marking
Describes mandatory product tests.

EN 131-3: 2018 – Marking and user instructions
Defines standards for product marking and user instructions.

  • Basic marking on the ladder
  • Safety marking and user instructions
  • Safety signs
  • Basic safety marking and user instructions for all ladders
  • Leaning ladder markings
  • Standing ladder markings
  • Combination ladder markings
  • Single or multi hing-joint ladder markings
  • Telescopic ladder markings

EN 131-4: 2007 – Single or multiple hinge joint ladders
For single or multiple hinge joint ladders.

EN 131-5 – Accessories (pending)
For ladder accessories.

EN 131-6: 2019 – Telescopic ladders
For telescopic ladders. Specifies general design features, requirements, and test methods. And defines the terminology for leaning and standing telescopic ladders. This part of EN 131 does not cover ladders with extension elements.

EN 131-7: 2013 – Mobile ladders with platform
For mobile ladders with platform.

Besides, stepstools (EN 14183), loft ladders (EN 14975), and roof ladders (BS 8634: 2017) are not covered by the EN 131 standard. They have separate requirements.

The EN131 Ladder Standard Has Changed

I have seen misinformation on many ladder packaging or labels. For example, some will carry the CE marking, and some still use the outdated BS 2037 standard. This is all unprofessional. Remember that ladders cannot carry the CE marking, and BS 2037 was withdrawn when the standard was changed in 2018.

A professional and responsible supplier should know everything about the products he produces. Especially the testing standards are related to product quality. Suppliers who make such mistakes should be kicked out in a hurry.

That’s why, as a consumer or wholesaler, a little knowledge is necessary. Let’s take a look at what has changed in the latest EN131 standard.

What is the key changes?

The latest standard means wider, stronger, sturdier and safer ladders.

  1. Ladders under EN131 standard have been divided into two new categories: EN131 Professional and EN131 Non-Professional. In the UK region, its three specific classifications have also been completely replaced.

EN131 Professional – for industry, trade, and all commercial use.
EN131 Non-Professional – for DIY tasks used in the home.

  1. The new standard requires ladders to be designed and tested to withstand a maximum load of 150kg. Including the user and their tools, equipment, and any materials.
  2. Ladders over 3 meters introduce a new sliding test, a new cyclic durability test, and a new test for the ladder in the position of use. Professional-grade ladders are subject to more stringent durability requirements. As they are expected to be subjected to heavier use. In durability testing, non-professional ladders must pass 10,000 repetitions. While professional ladders must pass 50,000 repetitions.
  3. Ladders over 3 meters need to have stabilizers. The stabilizer’s size depends on the ladder’s height and width.
  4. EN31-6: 2019 for telescopic ladders has been introduced at the beginning of 2019. And the old EN131-6:2015 was withdrawn.

When did the new standards go into effect?

The name of each part of EN131 is labeled with the year in which it was revised. For example, the latest revision of EN31 Part 6 is called EN131-6: 2019. It is easy to tell that the standard was revised and introduced in 2019.

Generally, manufacturers have one year to transition from the introduction of the new standard to its entry into force. It means that manufacturers should comply from January 2020 to produce ladders that comply with the new EN131-6: 2019 standard.

EN131 Standard Test Content

The test methods for the two main types of ladders – leaning ladders and standing ladders – are different under the EN 131 standard.

For standard leaning ladders. EN131 includes (but is not limited to) the following tests:

  • Dimensional requirements
  • Base Slip Test
  • Stabilizer Test
  • Lateral Deflection
  • Bend Test
  • Strength Test
  • Rung Test
  • Torsion Test

Standing ladders require the following tests:
(test overview)

  • Dimensional requirements
  • Lateral Deflection
  • Bend Test
  • Strength Test
  • Tread Tests
  • Torsion Test
  • Durability Test
  • Opening Restraints and Hinge Test

If it passes these tests, the ladder will be considered worthy of EN131 certification.

EN131-6 testing

Let’s look at an example of how to test a telescopic ladder (leaning ladder) under the EN131-6 standard:

Step Distance Test Slow Descent Test
What is tested? What is tested?
The distance between each section of the ladder steps. Does the ladder have a mechanism to prevent injury when the ladder retracts.
How is it tested? How is it tested?
● Use a ruler to measure the distance between the steps. ● Place the ladder vertically, and do not operate it against the wall when it is closed.
● Push the buttons on both ladder steps with your fingers.
Requirements Requirements
The test requires the ladder step distance to be no more than 30cm. The test requires a smooth, slow descent of the ladder to prevent people from getting hurt because they can’t retrieve their hands in time.
Drop Test Bending Deflection
What is tested? What is tested?
Whether the key components of the ladder are still intact after the fall. The distortion degree of loading of the ladder.
How is it tested? How is it tested?
● Place the ladder 90° vertically.
● Ensure that both sides of the ladder will land and then let the ladder
fall freely.
● Lay the ladder flat.
● Add weights to the ladder and gradually increase the weight to see how much the ladder bends.
Requirements Requirements
The test requires the closure button of ladder will not collapse out after landing, because after the button is damaged, the ladder can not be
function correctly.
The bending range is calculated based on the length of the ladder, and the test requires that the ladder be able to pass the normal degree of bending under its length without breaking.
Lateral Deflection Strength Test
What is tested? What is tested?
The distortion degree of loading of the ladder lateral side. Weight-bearing capacity of the ladder.
How is it tested? How is it tested?
● Place the ladder on its side.
● Add weights to the ladder lateral side and gradually increase the
weight to see how much the ladder bends.
● The ladder is placed at 65 degrees to the ground and the load is applied to the middle step of the ladder.
● For non-professional ladders (ladders for home use), the test load is 229 kg; for professional ladders (ladders for work), the test load is 275 kg.
Requirements Requirements
The bending range is calculated based on the length of the ladder,
and the test requires that the ladder be able to pass the normal
degree of bending at its length without breaking.
The ladder must support the test load for 1 minute; the ladder must be fully functional after the load is removed.
Pull Out Test of Rungs
What is tested?
Whether the ladder column and the steps will be separated under test load.
How is it tested?
● The test suspends the ladder on one stile while the test load is applied to the lower stile.
● The test load was 265 kg.
● The test is perfomed on a rung in the top third, lower third, and the middle.
The ladder must support the test load without the rung brackets breaking or loosening.

Who Issues EN131 Certificates?

Governmental organizations in countries such as the EU only stipulate product qualification standards. They do not help with product testing. As a result, there are many third-party testing organizations in the world. They are independent of the interests of buyers and sellers.

Internationally well-known authoritative testing organizations include SGS, TUV, Intertek, BV, CCIC, etc.

Those of you who have already read here, think you will be relaxed for having learned so much about EN131. But, next, there is a new important point that needs our attention.

Some manufacturers do EN131 testing. But they may find some unknown third-party organizations. This is because authoritative organizations have strict inspections and charge high fees. While some unknown organizations can pass by paying money.

To sum up, for our safety, we should choose products with EN131 certificate issued by SGS, TUV, CCIC, and other formal organizations.

How to check the authenticity of certificate

Before you purchase ladders, you can ask the supplier to provide the certificate. Each certificate has an exclusive number. You can check this number at the official website of the third-party organization that issued the certificate. If it can be found out, it is real and valid.

Major organizations query website:



GOKULAD is a professional ladder manufacturer and supplier. Our telescopic ladders have EN131-6, ANSI, AS/NZS 1892 certificates issued by authorities.

You can find these certificates on our website to read or check them.

Come to see what kind of telescopic ladders that can pass EN131-6 are.