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Innovative climbing technology for more safety in the workplace

Ladders, steps and scaffolds are indispensable in many work situations. They are usually taken for granted as work equipment that is easy to use. However, their use does not seem to be that simple, as more than 70% of accidents are due to the misconduct of the user. Defective ladders, steps and scaffolds are also often reasons for accidents. In DGUV rules 208-016 and 201-011, the employers' liability insurance associations therefore require that ladders and steps be inspected at regular intervals to ensure that they are in proper condition. In addition to DGUV rules, standards also apply to ladders and other access equipment, as they do to almost everything. "The European standards DIN EN 131-1, DIN EN 131-2 and DIN EN 131-3, DIN EN 131-4 as well as DIN EN EN 131-6, which regulate design, construction types, testing as well as marking and instructions for use, have been extensively revised.

Fundamentally new is the division of the leaders into two classes:

  • "Professional use" or "Professional" identifies ladders designed for use on the job
  • "Non-professional use" or "Non-Professional" applies to ladders that may only be used privately

"Professional Use" or "Professional" classifications have higher strength and durability requirements."[1]

Ladders from MUNK Günzburger Steigtechnik are always state-of-the-art at the time of delivery, meet the requirements of occupational safety laws and industrial safety regulations, and also comply with the ladder class "Professional Use" or "Professional".

Numerous accidents involving ladders, steps and scaffolds can be avoided if users act more prudently and adhere to important requirements. Falls, even from low heights, can result in difficult and serious injuries. Simply choosing the appropriate ladder length or scaffold height can minimize unnecessary risks. "EU Directive 2009/104/EC (formerly 2001/45/EC) includes the requirement that users must be able to stand and hold on safely at all times. In Germany, this is implemented by BetrSichV §3(1), which requires that work equipment be suitable for the work to be performed."[2]


Important rules here are as follows:

  • "When climbing over roofs, objects, etc., the ladder must protrude 1.0 m over the exit
  • Leaning ladders may only be climbed to the fourth uppermost step/rung
  • The so-called elbow method is used to easily determine the correct angle of application
  • Stepladders that can be climbed on both sides may only be climbed to the third uppermost step/rung
  • Multi-purpose ladders in the "stepladder with attached extension ladder" position of use may only be climbed to the fifth uppermost step/rung
  • Stepladders with platforms and platform ladders must be selected so that the user can reach the maximum required working height, without having to stretch, from the platform."[3]
  • To select the correct ladder length or scaffold height, use the formula for the required working height. The formula for this is: stand height + 2.0 m = required working height.


The nivello® ladder shoe: Safety and flexibility in series at Munk Günzburger Steigtechnik!


nivello® makes the ladder shoe movable and sets new standards in the stability of Munk ladders. This is because the integrated joint compensates for minor ground unevenness and achieves a 4-fold larger contact surface on the ground than with conventional ladder shoes. The exchangeable foot plates also allow optimal adaptation to the working environment and guarantee a secure footing even on slippery and grown floors as well as gratings.


Technical rules for operational safety - TRBS 2121 Part 2


Due to the new version of the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health in 2015, it was also necessary to adapt the TRBS (Technical Rules for Industrial Safety and Health) to the new ordinance. In the process, the old version of TRBS 2121 Part 2 was also adapted to the current state of the art.

TRBS 2121 specifies the requirements of the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health within the scope of its application. If the technical rules are complied with, the employer can insofar assume that the corresponding requirements of the ordinance are met. If the employer chooses a different solution, he must thereby achieve at least the same safety and health protection for the employees."[4]

TRBS 2121 Part 2 describes when ladders are permissible as access or egress from workplaces at a height. This is the case when:

-the height difference to be overcome is a maximum of 5 m and

- the use of other work equipment is disproportionate due to insufficient risk and short service life (the structural conditions must be taken into account when assessing proportionality), and

- the risk assessment shows that the entry and exit can be carried out safely.

In exceptional cases, the use of a ladder is also permitted for height differences greater than 5 m. This is possible exclusively in the case of infrequent use of a rung or step ladder as access.

"Ladders used as ascents must be designed to extend at least 1 m beyond the point of egress, unless other devices permit safe retention."[5]

Likewise, TRBS 2121 Part 2 describes when the use of ladders as a high-level workplace is permissible. This is the case when:

" - up to a stand height of 2 m and

- for a stand height between 2 m and 5 m, if only temporary works are performed, if

- because of the low risk and the short duration of use, the use of other, safer work equipment is not proportionate, and

- the risk assessment shows that the work can be carried out safely. When checking the proportionality, the structural conditions must be taken into account.

Due to the risk of falling and the higher ergonomic strain, portable ladders may only be used as an elevated workstation if the employee stands with both feet on a step or platform and the standing position on the ladder is not higher than 5 m above the installation surface. In exceptional cases with special justification (e.g. work in narrow shafts or during harvesting in fruit growing), work on portable ladders with rungs is permitted. The special reasons must be documented by the employer in the risk assessment. Temporary work is work that does not exceed a period of two hours per work shift, such as maintenance, servicing, inspection, measuring and assembly work. Temporary work at elevated outdoor workplaces using ladders may only be performed if the surrounding and weather conditions do not affect the safety and health of employees. In particular, work may not be started or continued if there is a possibility of employees falling or being injured by falling or falling parts due to weather conditions, e.g. strong or gusty winds, icing or slippery snow."[6]

For the selection of suitable work equipment, it therefore makes sense to carry out a risk assessment prior to acquisition. The assessment must take into account the hazards

- emanating from the work equipment itself,

- emanating from the working environment and

- which emanate from the objects on which activities are carried out with work equipment.

"The risk assessment shall take into account, in particular, the suitability of the work equipment for the intended use, the work processes and the work organization."[7]


Investments in occupational safety measures are supported by the BG Bau.

"With the occupational safety premiums from BG BAU, the employers' liability insurance association for the construction industry, you can save up to 50% if you invest in measures that make working safer. Eligible to apply are commercial member companies of BG BAU with at least one employee and a BG contribution of 100 euros or more, as well as entrepreneurs without employees but with voluntary insurance with BG BAU. The maximum subsidy amount per calendar year is based individually on the apportionment contribution for the BG requirements of the previous year. Smaller BG member companies have the option of saving up their subsidy amount for an occupational safety premium over several years. Funding is provided for implemented measures that have not yet been subsidized by BG BAU if the respective conditions are met. Measures are only subsidized in the year in which they were implemented/purchased and applied for. The invoice date of the current calendar and funding year is decisive.

Because elevated workplaces and a lack of or inadequate safety equipment are responsible for many serious accidents at work, BG BAU now also offers its premium package for fall prevention as a non-contributory subsidy for occupational safety premiums. The maximum non-contributory subsidy amount is divided into three levels of 3,000 euros, 5,000 euros and 10,000 euros per calendar year. Each level is assigned successive subsidy conditions that must be fulfilled or implemented by the company. Here, too, up to 50% funding per measure is possible.

A company can take advantage of both types of subsidy. Under the non-contributory subsidy (premium package for fall prevention), occupational safety premiums may be subsidized at a higher rate than under the contributory subsidy. When investing in products or measures for fall prevention, it may be worthwhile to compare the two funding options. BG BAU lists the details on its website.

Eligible measures against fall

  • Construction stairs and scaffolding stairs: Subsidy per construction staircase 50% of the acquisition costs, max. 750 euros
  • Stairways for mobile working platforms: Subsidy per stairway equipment 50% of the acquisition costs, max.500 Euro
  • Platform ladders and work platforms: Subsidy per platform ladder 50% of the acquisition costs, max. 500 euros
  • Lightweight platform ladders: Subsidy per platform ladder 50% of the acquisition costs, max. 250 euros
  • Step glass cleaning ladders: Subsidy per stepped glass cleaning ladder 50% of the acquisition costs, max. 300 euros.
  • Stepladders: Subsidy per stepladder 50% of the acquisition costs, max. 300 euros.
  • Steps, work and small platforms: occupational safety bonus per measure 50% of the acquisition costs, max. 300 euros
  • Ladder accessories to improve stability and ergonomics: per ladder accessory 50% of the acquisition costs, max. 100 Euro
  • One-person scaffolds: Funding per one-person scaffold with 3-T method 25% of acquisition costs, max. 500 euros. Subsidy per one-person scaffold with system-integrated leading side protection 50% of the acquisition costs, max. 1,500 euros.

All eligible measures, further details on eligibility requirements and application for occupational health and safety premiums can be found on the BG BAU website."[8]

Technical seminar ladders and steps


At the Carl Stahl Training Center in Munich and at the Carl Stahl Academy in Süßen, training courses are regularly held to qualify persons to test ladders, steps and mobile work platforms. In these one-day seminars, participants receive information on the different types of ladders and working platforms, standards and regulations, design features, correct handling and use, and proper testing of the products. Training is provided by qualified seminar instructors with extensive practical experience. The event is suitable for anyone who often has to deal with ladders, steps and mobile working platforms in their work, but also for safety officers and occupational safety specialists. Participants in these seminars receive one VDSI point.


[1] Günzburger Steigtechnik, Climbing Technology Guide 2021, p. 341

[2] Günzburger Steigtechnik, Climbing Technology Guide 2021, p. 344

[3] Günzburger Steigtechnik, Climbing Technology Guide 2021, p. 344

[4] TRBS 2121, July 2018 edition

[5] TRBS 2121-2, December 2018 edition

[6] TRBS 2121-2, December 2018 edition

[7] Günzburger Steigtechnik flyer "The changes to TRBS 2121 Part 2".

[8] BG BAU occupational safety bonuses: Promotion for access technology and accessories


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