Types of Insulating Tools, IEC 60900 vs VDE, Tool Care Information
Insulated and insulating hand tools are used for live working and work near live parts, with voltage ratings up to 1000V AC and 1500V DC
They shall comply with the international standard IEC EN 60900
They are identified by the mark : 1000V (double triangle) IEC EN 60900
Insulated hand tools are classified into three categories :
INSULATED HAND TOOLS :
Hand tools made of conductive material(s) fully or partially covered by insulating material
Fully insulated tools covered with insulating materials with the exception of conductive parts on the working surface reduce the risk of short circuiting between two parts at different potentials
INSULATING HAND TOOLS:
Hand tools made totally or essentially from insulating material(s) except for inserts made from conductive materials used for reinforcement, but with no exposed conductive point.
INSULATING tools can have several working heads.
They protect the user from electric shocks and minimize the risk of short circuiting between two parts at different potentials
HYBRID HAND TOOLS :
Hand tools made from insulating material(s) with exposed conductive parts at the working head (e-g : cutting edges) (some non exposed conductive part can be used for reinforcement)
HYBRID tools can have several working heads.
They protect the user against electric shocks and reduce the risk of short circuiting between two parts at different potentials.
For this category of hand tools, this catalogue uses the term «hybrid» in conformity with the draft of edition 4 of the NF EN IEC 60900 standard
What is the difference between VDE and IEC 60900 Standard !
VDE is a German institute that certifies tools against the European IEC 60900 standard.
Under this standard, the statement of conformity issued by a manufacturer stating compliance with the norm is sufficient, and hence it is not mandatory to certify the tools by an independent body. The VDE certification therefore offers those who require a higher degree of confidence, a third party verification of the compliance. However, VDE is not the only third party certification available in the market, and there isn´t such a thing as a VDE norm or certificate for tools.
What VDE certifies, like any other third party independent body does, is that the tools comply with the IEC 60900 norm and that the manufacturer has the required capabilities and means to manufacture and test de tools against the requirements of the standard. As a result, it is common that manufacturers only certify a few references (i.e. few sizes in each product category) and not all the references. Once the independent body certifies a specific size, all other sizes within that product category can also be considered as safe as the ones VDE certified, considering that that they would be manufactured following the same process, tested with the same test equipment and backed by the Statement of Conformity of the manufacturer.
Tool Care Information
- Only use tools that are marked with the official international 1000-volt rating double triangle symbol shown above, if there is any chance that the tools will make contact with a live electrical source.
Visually inspect them
Perform a visual inspection on your insulated tools each time you plan to use them. If any cracks, nicks or other damage to the outer orange layer is visible, don’t use the tool.
Beware of temperature
Only use insulated tools in areas whose ambient temperatures are compatible with the manufacturer’s specifications. All of our tools are carefully manufactured to be extremely resilient, but it’s still a good idea to check beforehand. Always keep tools away from heat sources as this will cause damage.
Beware of non insulated parts
Don’t touch any parts of the tool that are not insulated as these parts could come into contact with an energised source and you will be at risk of electrical shock.
Keep away from sharp objects
Ensure you keep your insulated tools away from any sharp objects, such as utility knives, to prevent damage to the outer material. A tool case or bag is a good solution.
Clean your tools
It’s important to take care of your insulated tools by cleaning and maintaining them regularly this will ensure many years of reliable service. All of our tools are tailor-made to be robust and long-lasting but it’s always a good idea to keep on top of the housekeeping.
Of course, ideally, the mains should be shut off before commencing any repair or inspection. However, when this is not possible, it is important to remember that insulated tools are an important link in the overall chain of safety and should be used alongside PPE, such as insulated gloves, boots and electrical safety matting.