The use of ladders and step stools

DGUV Information 208-016

People often underestimate the dangers associated with the use of portable ladders and steps. Before using such ladders and steps in an occupational setting, it is therefore important to thoroughly assess and check the possible risks as part of the risk assessment. If there is an increased risk of falling, the intended activities must be carried out from safer work equipment, e.g. rolling scaffolds, lifting platforms or individually adapted special constructions. DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance) Information 208-016 provides explanatory notes on the regulations of the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV) on the use of portable ladders and steps. Fixed fixed ladders are not covered. The new version of DGUV Information 208-016 published in August 2022 takes into account all changes to standards in recent years as well as the changes resulting from TRBS 2121 Part 2.

That's new

  • New title - The use of ladders and step stools (formerly BGI 694 Instructions for the use of ladders and step stools).
  • Information has been gendered
  • Incorporation of the content of TRBS 2121 Part 2 "Risks to employees when using ladders".
  • Introduction of ladder classes according to DIN EN 131-2 for professional and non-professional use.
  • Introduction of an increased minimum stand width, usually implemented by manufacturers by means of crossbars, for ladders used as single ladders and having a length > 3000 mm.
  • Acceptance of telescopic ladders according to DIN EN 131-6
  • Acceptance of glass cleaning ladders with steps
  • Extension of the ladder accessories
  • Revision of the checklist for the inspection of ladders
  • Presentation of new safety pictograms for ladders and steps according to DIN EN 131-3

Target group of DGUV Information 208-016

Employers have a duty to provide their employees with safe work equipment. This also includes ladders and steps. Employers must comply with the regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (ArbSchG), the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV) and the relevant standards. Only in this way can they ensure that their employees are exposed to acceptable and low hazards when using ladders and steps.

DGUV Information 208-016 is aimed at all employers who provide portable ladders and steps for their employees or use them themselves. It provides a clear summary of the regulations of the German Occupational Health and Safety Act (ArbSchG), the German Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV), the rules and regulations of the accident insurance institutions and the relevant standards.

Source of supply

DGUV Information 2018-016 (in German) can be downloaded free of charge as a PDF file from the DGUV publication server.

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