Accessing MaxxStep step module | © MUNK GmbH Accessing MaxxStep step module | © MUNK GmbH

Technical regulations for operational safety

TRBS 2121 Part 2

Endangerment of employees

  • The amended technical regulations for operational safety (TRBS) were published on 21.12.2018 by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in the Common Ministerial Gazette (GMBl) No. 58/59
  • The TRBS specify the requirements of the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health for the use of work equipment and provide a presumption of conformity, i.e. if the regulations of the TRBS are complied with and applied, the corresponding legal requirements and protective goals from the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health are satisfied
  • However, the TRBS are not legally binding
  • The employer may also choose another solution
  • It must, however, at least achieve the same level of safety and
    health protection for employees
  • This can be determined by a risk assessment which must always be documented and commenced before the equipment is selected and procured
  • The person responsible for the risk assessment is the employer / entrepreneur
  • The work-related hazards for employees must be determined and corresponding measures taken to ensure employees' safety and well-being
  • The assessment must incorporate all hazards that arise from the use of the equipment and indeed
    • from the equipment itself
    • , the working environment and
    • the objects on which activities are carried out using the equipment in question
    • The risk assessment must pay particular attention to the suitability of the equipment for its intended use, the procedures followed and the organisation of work, and the following points should be addressed:
    • Task / use, e.g. physical force to be used, difficulty of the activity, differences in height, ergonomics, transport, set-up and structural surroundings.
    • Duration & frequency
    • Nature of the equipment, e.g. type of ladder (dimensions, load capacity)
    • Environmental conditions, e.g. weather, interactions with the environment, ground surface
    • Stability and attachments
    • Accessories
Information & support

Since 2019, the more stringent TRBS 2121 Part 2 has explicitly called for steps instead of rungs when ladders are not just used for ascent but also as workplaces. To this end, new regulations apply to operating times and heights. Does this mean the end of working on rung ladders? No! While all step ladders meet the TRBS requirements anyway, there are also clever solutions for rung ladders that allow them to continue to be used.

With our innovative MaxxStep step module, for example, almost all our rung ladders can be converted to make them TRBS-compliant, just like with the handy hook-in steps.

Download the PDF "Changes to TRBS 2121 Part 2"
  • The use of ladders as entrances or exits to high-level workplaces is permitted if:
    • The height difference to be crossed is no more than 5 m
    • The use of other, safer work equipment is not reasonable because of the low level of risk and the short duration of use
    • The hazard assessment shows that access and exit can be carried out safely
  • The structural conditions must be taken into account in the proportionality test

Exception: If the step or rung ladder is only rarely used as access, these ladders are also allowed to be used if the difference in height is greater than 5 m.

  • The use of step and platform ladders remains permitted without restrictions for work up to a standing height of 2 m
  • If the standing height is between 2 m and 5 m, only temporary work is allowed to be carried out on ladders
  • If the standing position exceeds the maximum height of 5 m, alternative work equipment (e.g. mobile scaffolding) must be selected

Work on rung ladders is permitted in exceptional cases (e.g. work in narrow shafts or when harvesting fruit in orchards). A risk assessment is the prerequisite for this.