Use and Care of Insulated Hand Tools

Posted on: 23 Mar, 2021 | Reading Time: 3 mins read

Whether you’re a professional working in an industrial set up or just handy around the house, using insulated pliers, cable cutters, crimping tools, wire strippers, screwdrivers and nut drivers, it is important to reduce the risk of electrical shock when you’re working around electricity.

Regular maintenance and proper use are key when it comes to how effectively insulated tools will protect you from injury. It’s like the old adage, ‘Take care of your insulated tools, and they’ll look out for you!’

Each time that you use insulated tools for a job, take the time to visually inspect them first.

  • Always choose the appropriate tool for the job at hand
  • Check standards and approval markings.
  • Ensure that you have been properly trained to use the tool safely and know its limitations and hazards.
  • Always read the operator’s manual before using the tool and operate it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use only tested and approved tools.
  • Wear insulated gloves, eye protection and other personal protective equipment as necessary
  • Inspect tools for any damage prior to each use.
  • Do not forget to check the handle and body casing of the tool for cracks or other damage.
  • If a tool has auxiliary/double handles, check to see that they are securely installed.
  • Inspect if insulation is sound before using a tool.
  • Never use a tool with insulation that is cracked, cut, perforated or one with a damaged outer layer
  • If you doubt the integrity of the insulation, destroy the tool or have it retested
  • Don’t modify the insulation to aid the inspection process, some manufacturers offer two-layer insulation that will change colour when the insulation has been breached.
  • If you can see the white under-layer showing through the PVC coating, destroy and replace that tool. If you observe that a tool is defective, remove it from service, & tag it clearly “Out of service for repair”.Replace damaged equipment as soon as possible – do not use defective tools “temporarily”, as it could lead to unwanted trouble.
  • Let tools be repaired by a qualified person – do not try to attempt field repairs.
  • Use insulated tools only in areas whose ambient temperatures are compatible with the tools’ temperature ratings.
    Always follow the manufacturer’s temperature recommendations for use
    In all possible situations, be sure to de-energize all lines and equipment before you begin working on or near them.
  • Although insulated hand tools are 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.
  • Think before you touch! Whenever you’re working with insulated tools, never touch their uninsulated portions, or any other object that might come into contact with an energized source.
    Keep tools clean and dry
    Even though all insulated tools are designed to prevent electrical shock, any moisture, films or other contaminants on the tools’ surfaces may still be able to conduct electrical current.
  • One of the best ways to maintain the integrity of your insulated tools is to keep them clean, dry, and contaminant-free.
    Insulated tools like all important equipment must be maintained in a safe, reliable condition.
  • Follow good housekeeping procedures – keep the work area free of clutter and debris that could be tripping or slipping hazards.
  • Keep your tool away from heat, water, oil, sharp edges and moving parts. They can damage the insulation.
  • Ensure that tools are kept clean and well maintained.
    Do not clean tools with flammable or toxic solvents.
  • When your insulated tools need to be cleaned, it is advisable to use mild, non-corrosive cleansers like dishwashing soap or hand-cleaning towels.
  • In order to avoid insulation damage, always store insulated tools away from heat sources.
  • Do not surprise or touch anyone who is operating a tool. Doing that could end up causing an accident or injury.
  • Have your insulated tools inspected and recertified annually by a trained and qualified professional who can determine if the tools are safe for continued use.

Bombay Tools has the products, services and resources to help keep employees safe and healthy while operating safer facilities. As a responsible brand we try and help you stay in compliance and protect employees from hazardous situations.

It is important to keep in mind that insulated tools provide great protection, but they do not make you invincible! Using insulated tools isn’t a fool proof solution to avoid electric shock: they are simply designed to reduce your risk of electrical injury.

This list is not all inclusive. Reference and read manufacturer’s safety recommendations and keep the instructions.

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