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07 Dec 2023

how far apart are the rungs on a ladder

SHORT ANSWER: EN131 standards allow for a gap between rungs of 225mm to 300mm.

On almost every ladder in the UK, the rungs are all spaced evenly apart with the same amount of space between each one. Read on to find out why!

Ladder Rung Spacing in the UK

On most ladders, the rungs are between 225mm and 350mm apart, in compliance with the EN131 standards introduced in 2018. The exact distance between the rungs of a given ladder will depend on the type of ladder in question.

The key thing that all ladders need is a consistent distance between each rung. It would be very awkward to climb a ladder where one gap measured 225mm and the next measured 305mm and the next was a different distance again! To ensure consistency in ladder rung spacing, the EN131 standards state there must be a difference of no more than 2mm in the distances between the rungs on a given ladder. So, if you buy a ladder made after 2018, you can be reasonably sure that the gaps between the rungs will only vary in distance by a maximum of 2mm.

This is due to the biomechanics of climbing a ladder. In 1979, a PhD student named D.R. McIntyre discovered that, while each individual has their own approach to actually climbing a ladder, every participant in the study wanted the rungs to be the same distance apart to prevent accidents.

During MacIntyre’s study, if anyone missed a rung during climbing, it was their feet that missed the target, not the hands. The safest distance between rungs was noted in the test as 305mm, but 350mm proved to be safer still as long as the knees were kept between the stiles during climbing.

The implication here is that following the belt buckle rule, as well as maintaining three points of contact, is the safest way of climbing a ladder. The ladder rungs should also be evenly spaced to ensure maximum safety. A potential variation of 2mm in the space between rungs should not have too serious an impact on one’s ability to climb.

All ladders made in the UK since 2018 are subject to the EN131 regulations. If it’s been a while since you used your ladder, it may be a good idea to buy a new one to make sure it’s as safe as possible.

If you have any questions about our ladders, including what the distance is between the rungs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer.

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