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Ladders and Step Stools: What Regulations Must They Comply With and How to Choose Them

Depending on the workplace, the height of use, and the intended purpose, it is mandatory for the equipment used to comply with current regulations and safety rules. This guide will explain which regulations govern the use of a ladder and how to choose one.

Which ladder to choose for professionals and non-professionals

First of all, when choosing the best ladder to use, it is important to keep in mind that, within each work environment, depending on the intended use, the ladders must necessarily comply with certain regulations in order to be used. Let's see together which regulations are involved.
The use of ladders is regulated by the D. Leg 81/08, which must be strictly followed in order to use the ladder in question. In addition to this decree, there are technical regulations that govern specific uses. In particular:

  • UNI EN 131-1 regulates the types of ladder, terms, and functional dimensions
  • UNI EN 131-2 regulates the requirements, tests, and marking
  • UNI EN 131-3 regulates the marking and instructions for the user
  • UNI EN 131-4 regulates transformable ladders with hinges
  • UNI EN 131-6 regulates telescopic ladders
  • UNI EN 131-7 regulates movable ladders with platforms
  • UNI EN 14183 regulates step stools
  • UNI 10401 regulates portable leaning and non-leaning ladders for industrial use
  • UNI EN 1147 regulates portable ladders for firefighting services

That being said, let's see what are the most common types of ladders and which one to choose based on the final use:

1. TELESCOPIC LADDER
is suitable for both professional and domestic use and can be extended according to needs. They are foldable, reducing the space they occupy and allowing for easy storage even in small spaces.
2. LEANING LADDER
is the most well-known model and consists of the classic ladder that leans against the wall. This type of ladder can also be longer than 5 meters.
3. EXTENSION LADDER
these are ladders designed for professional use as they are particularly suitable for intensive use. They have thicker uprights, reducing their flexion.
4. ARTICULATED LADDER
this type of ladder can be transformed according to the needs of the moment, and thanks to the presence of joints on both sides, it can also be used as a support platform.
5. DOUBLE-SIDED LADDER
this is the most practical and simple solution to use. Without any special structures, it has rungs on both sides and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
6. SCAFFOLDING LADDER
used in professional and demanding environments, it ensures maximum safety even in heavy-duty work. It provides comfort and stability to the worker thanks to the presence of stabilizers, support bars, and tread platforms.
7. AGRICULTURAL LADDER
these ladders are designed for agricultural use in sectors such as fruit picking and gardening, for example. They have a pyramid shape, with the point at the top, and trapezoidal steps that prevent excessive fatigue for the user, allowing them to reach even the most difficult points.

Characteristics to consider when choosing a ladder:

  • maximum load capacity
  • maximum height
  • support points and stability
  • material for indoor and/or outdoor use
  • shape

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