I’ve noticed that some of my insulated hand tools are getting older, some being dated from 2002, [hard to believe it’s been that long!], so was looking into any requirements for dielectric retesting and came across this info. Mine all have the two layer insulation on them and it is still in excellent shape, so it was interesting to find that other than cleaning and routine visual inspection, it seems that nothing else is really required.
Insulated tools are individually tested and certified by the manufacturer to be suitable for specific working conditions. Generally, the maximum rated voltage for insulated tools is 1000 volts AC and 1500 volts DC. When purchasing an insulated tool, look for compliance with one or more of the following standards: The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and The Deutsches Institute for Normung (DIN-German Standard). The ASTM, IEC, and DIN do not test the tools for compliance; they just set the performance requirements for the insulation. The manufacturers do their own testing. The Association of German Electro Technicians (VDE) is an independent agency that tests a sample of each tool to ensure compliance.
Use and Care of Insulated Tools
•Keep tools clean and dry
•Inspect insulation prior to each use
•If you doubt the integrity of the insulation, destroy the tool or have it re-tested
•Follow the manufacturer’s temperature recommendations for use
•Have a qualified person inspect and re-certify tools annually for safe use
•Use other personal protective
Commonly Asked Questions
Q. Are there requirements for periodic re-testing of insulated hand tools?
A. Although there are not specific requirements for re-testing insulated hand tools, in compliance with 29 CFR 1910.355(a)(1)(ii), protective equipment shall be maintained in a safe, reliable condition and shall be periodically inspected or tested as required by 1910.137. Most manufacturers suggest inspecting the insulation before each use and having a qualified person perform an annual inspection and certification. To aid in the inspection process, some manufacturers offer two-layer insulation that will change color when the insulation has been breached.
Q. Can I use insulated tools on energized circuits?
A. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use. Although insulated tools may be tested and certified to 1000 volts AC, the testing agencies do not recommend using them on energized circuits. Most insulating tools are designed only for protection from accidental contact with energized circuits.