Is Your Battery-Powered Hydraulic Tool Safe & Reliable?
April 29, 2019
Saving time and ensuring safety on the job is paramount. Allowing a worker to bring the tool to the job rather than the job to the tool, requiring no nearby sources of electricity, and providing consistent, reliable crimps is key for electrical wire termination and connection in the field. Battery-powered hydraulic crimping tools answer all these needs while facilitating the installation of irreversible compression connectors in the field. The technology allows for many crimps on a single battery charge while providing the crimping force tonnage necessary to achieve certified connections.
Advances in the state-of-the-art technology for battery-powered hydraulic crimping tools have allowed contractors to perform many more crimps per work shift with far less effort than would be possible with manual hydraulic tools.
However, there remains the risk of repetitive stress injuries and other hazards arising from electric motor-operated hand-held tools -- which is where certifying bodies come into play. National and international governing bodies and agencies recognize the need for occupational safety and strive to advance the cause. Whether it is OSHA- or European Union- (EU) specific directives, collaborative work between these entities and standards committees continue the effort to mitigate risks to tool users.
Is Your Tool Compliant?
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. If you are an employer responsible for the safety and well-being of your employees, you have a responsibility to ensure your employees have a safe work environment, which extends to the tools used on the job. Failure to meet established safety standards could result in fines. But how do you know if a tool used on the job sufficiently meets established safety standards? The best solution is to refer to agencies such as OSHA to determine the basic requirements and whether the tools are in compliance.
A tool that has been certified by an OSHA-accredited, nationally-recognized test lab (NRTL) verifies that the tool meets the requirements of UL60745-1 / CSA C22.2 No. 60745-1. This standard, Hand-Held Motor-Operated Electric Tools – Safety – Part 1: General Requirements, based on IEC 60745-1, establishes a series of tests needed to determine and qualify the safety of the tool under test. Recognizing that the use and operation of tools can contribute to fire, electric shock, mechanical, and noise hazards to workers, OSHA has deemed that this standard sufficiently covers all aspects of safety for tools under investigation. It addresses the common hazards that workers encounter when using handheld tools and the reasonably foreseeable misuse of tools. It also contains a myriad of test clauses used to gauge performance against the standard. Each clause contains a battery of tests under different environmental conditions. These clauses subject the tool during tests to the following conditions:
- Heating (ensuring excessive temperatures are not attained under normal load)
- Abnormal Operation (ensuring no hazard due to abnormal operation, no hazard results in the event of an electronic equipment failure, no hazards occurring under fault conditions)
- Mechanical Hazards (ensuring adequate protection against injury provided against moving and dangerous parts)
- Mechanical Strength (ensuring that enclosure of electronic and hydraulic parts have adequate strength to withstand subjected blows and impact due to drops on concrete without impairing compliance with the standard)
- Construction (ensuring that the designated switch used to control the operation of the tool is in a fixed, correct position and cannot be forced to be seated in the wrong position)
- Components (ensuring that components making up the tool follow relevant IEC standards and are used in accordance with their markings; switches follow specified standards)
- Screws and Connections (ensuring that electrical connections and other fixings are able to withstand mechanical stresses occurring in normal use)
- Creepage Distances, Clearances, and Distances Through Insulation (ensuring all clearances remain within the defined values given in the standard)
- Resistance to Heat, Fire, and Tracking (ensuring external parts are sufficiently resistant to heat and that parts do not propagate flames but are resistant to ignition and spread of fire)
- Battery Tools and Battery Packs (ensuring temperature rises meet established values and that battery tools and battery packs have adequate mechanical strength after subjection to test)
The comprehensiveness of this standard demonstrates a thorough testing protocol. However, a new standard will eventually replace IEC / EN / (UL) 60745-1. This new standard, IEC / EN / (UL) 62841-1, is a technical revision to IEC 60745-1 and maintains the test clauses while adding requirements for electronic safety critical functions and for Li-Ion battery systems. While this standard is not yet published on the complete list of test standards determined to be appropriate for use under OSHA’s NRTL Program, OSHA will likely soon favor this standard over the older UL 60745-1. Europe is a step ahead because EN 62841-1 is now included in the List of Harmonized Standards for the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, categorized as a Type-C standard.
In addition to tests outlined in EN 60745-1 and EN 62841-1, Directive 2006/42/EC also addresses ergonomic and safety features of machinery that extend beyond the scope of EN 60745-1/62841-1. The Directive includes EN ISO 12100 and lists this as an important standard complementing EN 60745-1 and EN 62841-1. The standard provides a framework for the design behind the tool to facilitate the achievement of safety in the design of the machinery. EN ISO 12100 guides the tool design by laying out the following:
- Provisions for stability
- Provisions for maintainability
- Observation of ergonomic principles
- Preventing electrical hazards
- Preventing hazards from pneumatic and hydraulic equipment
- Applying safe design measures to the control system
- Minimizing the probability of failure of safety functions
- Limiting the exposure to hazards through equipment reliability
- Limiting the exposure to hazards through automation of loading (feeding) / unloading (removal) operations
- Limiting the exposure to hazards through setting location and maintenance points outside of danger zones
- Safeguarding and complementary protective measures
- Inclusion of markings, signs, and written warnings
Electromagnetic Interference Requirements
These standards cover ergonomic, construction, operationality, and general safeguarding, but the member states of the EU also require compliance to the EMC directive. One of the “new approach” directives in the EU, Directive 2014/30/EU applies to all electronic or electrical products that can cause, or be disturbed by, electromagnetic interference. The EU requires that manufacturers ensure their products are compliant with the requirements of the directive. Products must meet this directive to display the CE marking. The pertinent IEC / EN standards are:
- IEC / EN 61000-4-2 – Electrostatic discharge immunity test; the objective of this standard is to establish a common and reproducible basis for evaluating the performance of electrical equipment when subjected to electrostatic discharges. It also addresses electrostatic discharges which may occur from the operator to objects near sensitive electronic equipment.
- EN 61000-4-3 – Radiated, radio-frequency, electromagnetic field immunity test; the objective of this standard is to provide a common guideline for evaluating the immunity of electrical equipment when subjected to radiated, radio-frequency electromagnetic fields such as from digital radio telephones and other RF emitting devices.
- EN 61000-6-1 – Immunity standard for residential, commercial, and light-industrial environments; it lays out generic EMC immunity requirements applicable to electrical and electronic equipment for use in residential, commercial, and light-industrial environments and covers the frequency range of 0 Hz to 400 GHz.
In summary, agencies and commissions continue the mission to assure safe working conditions for working men and women, and they do this by setting and enforcing standards. Both OSHA and the EU continue to review and assure standards related to the safety of machinery and tools are adequate, thorough, and appropriate. Are your tools compliant to these standards?
Panduit® BlackFin™ tools are safe and effective and meet the strictest of standards as recognized by organizations such as OSHA, EU and others, and are certified accordingly. With careful attention to ergonomics, these tools have been optimally designed with the end user in mind so each tool is easy to operate (includes a one-button operation and features a rotatable crimp head), requires less effort (reduces fatigue factor as each tool is ergonomically balanced so the load is better distributed, allowing the tool to feel “lighter”), and provides for better handling (includes soft rubber inlay comfort grip) all while delivering large-scale crimping forces necessary to facilitate the installation of irreversible compression connectors.
- Directive 2014/30/EU, 2014
- Directive 2006/42/EC, 2006
- UL 60745-1, “Hand-Held Motor-Operated Electric Tools – Part 1: General Requirement,” 2007
- ISO 12100-1, “Safety of Machinery – Basic Concepts, General Principles for Design – Part 1: Basic Terminology, Methodology,” 2003
- ISO 12100-2, “Safety of Machinery – Basic Concepts, General Principles for Design – Part 2: Technical Principles,” 2003
- IEC 62841-1, “Electric Motor-Operated Hand-Held Tools, Transportable Tools, and Lawn and Garden Machinery – Safety – Part 1: General Requirements,” 2014
- IEC 61000-4-2, “Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) – Part 4-2: Testing and Measurement Techniques – Electrostatic Discharge Immunity Test,” 2008
- IEC 61000-4-3, “Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) – Part 4-3: Testing and Measurement Techniques – Radiated, Radio-Frequency, Electromagnetic Field Immunity Test,” 2006
- IEC 61000-6-1, “Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) – Part 6-1: Generic Standards – Immunity Standard for Residential, Commercial and Light-Industrial Environments,” 2016