5 signs to know if you are buying manhole step irons according to the European Norm (EN-13101)
Sewage inspection chambers, manholes, reservoirs, sewage networks, electrical chambers, telecom chambers, service galleries … Manhole step irons or manhole ladders can be placed in a considerable number of confined places, very unfavorable conditions in terms of humidity, temperature and harmful gases.
Many people underestimate the importance of having a good quality polypropylene manhole step, either because of its low frequency use or because it is perceived as a commodity. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a vital collective safety element that can mean the difference between an accident and a comfortable descent into the confined space.
Below, we present some signs that indicate if you have installed manhole step irons approved or if instead, we are talking about a low-quality product that does not meet European regulations:
1. The insertion dowel
Dangerous: Few rings and practically smooth without relief. If a powerful extraction force is applied, the step iron could be detached from the wall.
Safe: The harpooning rings are numerous and very marked. Both for installation in wet and in dry embedment its numerous edges give it great stability.
2. Anti-slip floor
Dangerous: The anti-slip floor is null or very light. It can be slippery in conditions of humidity very common in confined spaces, causing real risk of falling.
Safe: The non-slip floor is well distributed on the entire manhole step and has a relief of at least 2.5mm. Allows a much greater grip avoiding slips.
3 Side flap
Dangerous: The flap is very low, with a height less than 20mm. It is not enough to prevent lateral fall in case of slip.
Safe: The flap has a minimum of 20 mm of height, blocking a possible slip or side fall.
4. Quality of the plastic
Dangerous: If the plastic presents bulky areas, it can suppose the existence of air in its interior. The impact test according to standard EN-13101 consists of a 20Kg striker falling from 1-meter of height. If, on receiving an impact, it cracks, it means that the plastic is recycled and has poor quality, allowing the entry of moisture, rusting the steel rod inside.
Safe: If the plastic is uniform and when receiving the impact test according to the EN-13101 standard, the plastic does not break, but expands taking a whitish color, we are talking about a virgin plastic of good quality. This way the plastic will protect the core from corrosion.
5. Compulsory tests according to the European standard EN-13101
The European Standard EN-13101 specifies that for each batch of 1,000 manhole steps manufactured an individual test must be carried out, so it is not worthwhile to publish technical documents on the Internet or to always give the same test changing the date, since the manufacturer can change the quality of the raw materials, without guaranteeing that the manhole step iron offers the required resistance.
The EN-13101 specifies general requirements and test methods for step irons for use in inspection chambers and other underground chambers as access system.
It also specifies performance criteria for stability and mechanical resistance providing protection against falls. Manhole steps included in this standard are suitable for use in sewage, water, and are subject to the requirements of national regulations, in drinking water systems.
When the manhole step irons are to be used in corrosive environments, for example, industrial waste, additional protection may be required.
In IVERNA we test our polypropylene step irons in our own quality laboratory and send the declaration of performance as required by the regulations. If you are looking for a high-quality product, please contact us for advice!