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Voice of the


Substandard Tools? You Could be in for a Shock!


Charles Whitfield, New Product Development Manager for C.K tools, discusses the risks of working with electricity and the preventative methods that can ultimately save lives. From smaller installations in a home to


major infrastructure work, such as HS2, contractors face a number of hazards when working on site. Tradespeople are contending with a multitude of risks, such as falls from height, moving vehicles, falling objects, as well as the more obvious perils of electrocution for those working on potentially live circuits, for example when doing boiler installations or repairs. A voltage as low as 50 volts can block


electrical signals between the brain and muscles, which can lead to an irregular pattern in the heartbeat; preventing a person from breathing and causing muscle spasms. The exact damage depends on several factors; the part of the body subjected to the volt; damp conditions; the length of time the current flows; and the size of the voltage. With such low volts able to cause so much


damage, it will come as little surprise to hear that there were 217 fatal injuries to construction workers in between 2010 and 2015 (Health & Safety Executive). Of these fatalities, 16 were from contact with electricity. Furthermore, according to the HSE, each





…there were 217 fatal injuries to construction workers in between 2010 and 2015…


year there are approximately 69,000 cases of self-reported work related illness, and 65,000 self-reported non-fatal workplace injuries, leading to 1.7million working days lost. For the self-employed time is indeed money. Time lost due to unnecessary accidents will make a significant dent in your wallet, so preventative action is extremely important. C.K tools is constantly monitoring and assessing the issues affecting the industry


and developing new tools to address professional needs. The company works closely with a dedicated group of professional tradesmen to understand better how they work, what they need from a tool and the issues, such as health and safety, that affect their working practice. In recent research, C.K tools noted an


20 ToolBUSINESS+HIRE


increasing confusion amongst tradesmen about the difference between ‘insulated’ and ‘VDE’ tested tools, and in turn the difference in levels of safety. For many years, tools on the market have


been branded ‘insulated’, meaning only that the tools are coated with a material that is not a conductor of electricity. There is a European standard, IEC 60900:2004, which sets out the insulation tests that every single conforming tool must have to prove their safety. But the problem with this standard is that it is self- certified. Anyone could claim conformance with it and there is nobody to check. Only those tools that carry the VDE (Verband Der Elektrotechnik) mark offer the security of independent testing and certification of the product, production methods, test equipment and test process. Only by choosing a tool marked VDE, are


tradesmen safe in the knowledge that each tool has been individually tested to 10,000V – a sizeable voltage in comparison to the mere 50 volts that can cause substantial injuries. VDE tested tools are designed specifically to


reduce the user’s risk of injury plus reduce the risk of damage to electrical circuitry. Tradesmen need to be aware of cheaper, non-VDE certified tools as they could cost them their lives. Quality is a key issue for anyone purchasing tools to use whilst working with electricity.


Although cost is a consideration, tradesmen should never compromise on quality. When working with something as dangerous as electricity, why take the risk and purchase substandard products, which do not conform to the relevant standards? Tradesmen need to consider both functionality and quality together to ensure they get the performance and the safety required. VDE tested tools are a vital element in the health and safety mix, something


that should never be ignored or underestimated. When working with live circuits, where efficiency, quality and safety are paramount, compromising on any of these elements could result in a nasty shock! Ensure your safety and invest in quality tools fit for purpose. For further information please visit www.ck-tools.com or call 01758 704704.





VDE tested tools are designed specifically to reduce the user’s risk of injury plus reduce the risk of damage to electrical circuitry…


www.toolbusiness.co.uk


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