The new standard DIN 18799-3:2021-02 - Fixed ladder systems for construction works

Safety requirements and tests – Part 3: Accessories – now in force!

What does this mean for you? No grandfathering for older fixed ladders!

For the majority of existing fixed ladders, these requirements mean that they will have to be upgraded or replaced. Failure to do so might mean that existing ladders will be barred from further use when next inspected by an expert/qualified person within the context of the regular fixed ladder inspections.

The changes in detail:

  • DIN 18799-3:1999-08 has been withdrawn
  • The standard’s partial division into  DIN 18799-1:2009-05 and DIN 18799-2:2009-05 has been withdrawn
  • The new standard includes safety requirements and tests for access and working scaffolds
  • The new standard includes specifications for accessories for fixed ladder systems for construction works

Stepping onto a platform or roof

  • The exits of fixed ladders with a safety cage starting at 3 metres and fixed ladders with fall arresters have to be designed in such a way that users are protected at all times.
  • All fixed ladder exits have to be fitted with fall protection!
  • This protection has to either comprise 1,500 mm long guardrails measured from the centre of the fixed ladder fitted on both sides of the ladder or a single continuous guardrail along the route leading from the ladder exit to the exit area with a minimum length of 2,000 mm.


  • All openings in the guardrails (e.g. access point to the fixed ladder) have to be fitted with a barrier to prevent users from falling. This barrier must not open in the direction of an edge or drop.
  • The barrier must be easy to open and automatically close against a fixed stop.
  • The barrier also has to be fitted with at least one handrail and a knee rail.

Equipment for preventing unauthorised access

  • Fixed ladders have to be fitted with guards that prevent the fixed ladder from being climbed by unauthorised persons.

Walkways – platforms – fall protection

  • Walkways and platforms have to be fitted with safety equipment to protect users from falling. This safety equipment also has to be designed in such a way as to minimise the risk of objects falling from these structures. Walkways have to have a clear width of at least 500 mm, platforms have be at least 800 mm wide and 800 mm long. The surfaces have to be permanently slip resistant and have a minimum anti-slip rating of R10.
  • If the gap between a platform or walkway and a building is greater than 180 mm, it has to be secured with a guardrail. This guardrail has to be at least 1,100 mm high and feature a handrail, knee rail and toe board.
  • There is also a requirement to provide labels.

Important things you need to know!

Construction works are works that are connected to the ground and built with building materials. A works is also considered to be connected to the ground if it rests on the ground as a result of its own weight or is able to move within limits on fixed tracks or if the works is mainly designed for stationary use (excerpt from the North Rhine-Westphalia State Building Regulations Bau0).

Standards DIN 18799-1 and -2 refer to fixed ladders on construction works. These fixed ladders are permanently connected to the works and are consequently and existing part of those construction works. 

The context of building regulations, the grandfather clause is always based on the original planning permission and only ceases to apply  if existing structures fail to meet the latest safety regulations. The grandfather clause does not apply universally to buildings. Construction works that are protected under the grandfather clause may be subject to new standards where necessary in order to avoid significant  risks to human life and health (excerpt from the Bavarian Building Regulations BayBauo). This is why all of the safety aspects (risk to  human life and health) take precedence of the grandfather clause! 

The builder / owner / operator of such construction works are responsible for ensuring that these works correspond to the state of the art.

The Workplace Ordinance sets out the German occupational health and safety requirements. It also sets out the minimum requirements for the construction and operation of workplaces.

All fixed ladders that are used in an occupational context are subject to the Workplace Ordinance.

The transitional periods for older workplaces (i.e. existing ones covered by the grandfather clause) expired on 31.12.2020 and are not  scheduled to be extended. The exception rules set out in Art. 8(1) of the Workplace Ordinance no longer apply and have not been replaced. The transitional periods in set out in Art. 8(1) of the Workplace Ordinance had been limited to a transition period of 17 years (2004 to 2021) and a fixed transitional period of five years (2016 to 2021). During this time, every company had the opportunity to adapt any buildings or organisational measures to meet the new requirements.

When the grandfather clause ceases to apply on 01.01.2021, all workplaces will  be subject to a uniform catalogue of requirements and have to provide the same level of protection.

The DIN 18799 standard does not apply to:

  • Fixed ladders for manholes according to DIN EN 14396
  • Fixed emergency ladders according to DIN 14094-1
  • Fixed ladders on machine systems according to DIN EN ISO 14122-4
  • Fixed ladders for process engineering equipment according to DIN 28017

Do you have questions? We are happy to help!