The standard BS 9124, which applies to steel and aluminium access covers for chamber openings greater than 1 metre x 1 metre, is less well known than the EN 124 standard it complements. However, the design criteria required to be in conformance to BS 9124 demonstrates why utility providers are insisting on its full compliance.


Attention to safety is critical when selecting steel access solutions whose purpose is to facilitate the safe extraction of equipment from a chamber, safeguard operators and maintenance personnel while doing so, and protect assets over the long term. 

Awareness of the key safety elements in the design of BS 9124 compliant covers will aid you in the correct specification in line with industry guidance documents.

These relate to:

Anti-Skid surface: A critical safety requirement is that covers have a suitably coarse skid resistant upper surface with a Polished Slip Resistance Value (PSRV) of greater than 40 rendering them safe to use under foot and wheel traffic. 

Fall Protection Safety Grids are required to pass a Drop Test*, where the grid must be capable of withstanding a 140kg mass applied over a footprint of 300x200mm that is dropped from a height of 2 meters onto any point on the grid. This simulates (and exceeds) the vertical impact of a human being falling onto the grid, at any point onto an area similar in size to their footprint. (EN 124 does not refer to safety grids or testing.)

Safety Stay bars: The hinged covers shall be fitted with a positive safety stay mechanism to prevent unintentional closure and keep it stable in the open position. Positive stay mechanism shall be capable of resisting a minimum horizontal force of 250 kg. This protects the operators when accessing the chamber in adverse weather where the wind is a threat.

Welder’s accreditations: Mandatory under the standard is the requirement for welders and fabricators to be qualified to the BS 267-1 standard and tested annually. This helps safeguard against varying standards in production that can occur.

*When approving access covers with fall protection request a Drop Test report to ensure safety girds comply fully to the requirements of the standard. 

Please see link for our Drop Test to BS 9124 video clip: The video has been published on YouTube:


Designed for safety and peace of mind 

To aid in the identification of compliant covers, there is also a mandatory requirement for specific markings to be a permanent, integral part of the cover and frame. To be in full compliance these marking are:

  • Identification of the Standard – BS 9124:2008
  • Category of Loaded Area
  • Name of manufacturer
  • Product identification – Item no.
  • Each element/ cover more than 25kg shall be marked in kg

This is to guarantee that critical safety features are tested and certified, as well as ensuring a long term performance of the products.

For guidance on the Correct Specification for Access Solutions to BS 9124 and to EN 124-3: 2015, please contact .

As a specialist manufacturer, EJ in Ireland can advise project designers on how best achieve long term value and future proof networks with innovative, compliant access solutions in all material – ductile iron, steel and composite, across all critical infrastructure networks which will help protect clients, consultants and contractors on projects.

Contact us on 057 9123100 to organise an Engineers Ireland approved CPD webinar on this topic.