Power Tools Standards: Who Makes Them and Why?

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An impact driver is used plus info about standards of cordless tools

Power tools are powerful machines that have been an integral part of the development of our modern world. The utility of these machines is paired with their potential hazards. These potential hazards are burns, electric shocks, and debilitating mechanical injuries. That’s why power tools standards have been developed for manufacturers and employers to minimize the dangers of these machines.

Angle grinder is being used plus info about benefits of tool standards

Power tools standards have been here for a long time and since their inception, these standards and regulations have been helpful to consumers, and laborers in different industries.

It is also worth mentioning that the presence of power tools regulations and guidelines is also helpful to manufacturers as it helps them streamline the inclusion of safety features in these products. Safety is the most important benefit of these regulations. There are other benefits to power tools standards for manufacturers, industries, workers, and consumers.

A cordless drill is being quality controlled plus info about benefits of standards

One of the main benefits of power tools regulations is that they ensure minimum requirements for quality. When minimum requirements for quality, performance, and reliability are standardized and enforced, customers are protected from potential bad actors in the market!

Standardization also encourages healthy competition and innovation within the industry. When certain standards are always met, power tools companies will look for other additional features on top of these standards to achieve their competitive edge over other companies.

Angle grinder is used plus info about power tool standards and regulations

Different types of power tools require different guidelines and regulations. That is why electric tools standards are distinct from pneumatic tools standards in a large number of cases. Most electric and pneumatic devices have been here for a long time. That is why most rules and guidelines relating to these tools have stayed the same for several decades. Cordless tools standards though have been set relatively a lot more recently. The most important part of cordless models is their batteries.

Power Tools Standards vs. Power Tools Certifications vs. Power Tools Licenses

Power tool certification is another term that can substitute power tool standards. Practically though, these two terms are used on two different occasions. The term standard is used when we are talking about institutions making guidelines. Certification is used when referring to the fact that a certain manufacturer has met the requirements set by these institutions. The term power tools licenses can be used interchangeably with power tool certifications.

Standardization Organizations and Resources

There are different organizations that create standards and regulations for different industries in various countries. There are several international organizations that create standards. There are two international institutions that create most of these guidelines and voluntary requirements related to power tools: the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). These two organizations are non-profits.

Infography about international and governmental standardization organizations

There are also national and multinational bodies for standardizing in different areas and countries. The European Union has its own standardization organization called the European Committee for Standardization. There are also several similar organizations operating in the US and North America.

American organizations that are involved in power tools standards are NIOSH and OSHA. There are also private companies like UL and ANSI in North America and TÜV in Europe which are private companies that are accredited by official bodies to make standards.

Certain power tools standards are not enforced and their implementation by the manufacturer is voluntary. The advantage of implementing these guidelines for companies is a competitive advantage because it makes the customers happier and creates a more positive image.

Engineer designing a jigsaw

Other power tools standards are mandatory and are enforced. These standards are called power tools regulations. These rules are regulated and enforced by governmental agencies such as OSHA. One of the main differences between different standardization bodies is this exact thing. Most standardization and regulatory bodies focus on researching and making new standards while organizations like OSHA are responsible for enforcing these power tools regulations. These regulatory bodies are part of governments and they regularly make rules to keep up with the new requirements in the market.

Info about standardization organizations collaborating

It is worth mentioning that certain standardization institutions, like the IEC, focus on requirements and guidelines for electric tools which include cordless tools standards. ISO on the other hand works on pneumatic tools standards as well. One of the most important objectives of these institutions is avoiding redundancies. That is why they collaborate to avoid unnecessary duplication of guidelines and rules.

All the mentioned institutions have laboratories for testing and certifying the implementation of these standards and regulations. As a manufacturer, you will have to seek the approval of these institutions by making sure your products are tested to get the right power tools certifications.

The Most Reputed Power Tools Certifications

Out of all the certifications, the certifications given out by UL, CE (part of EU), ANSI, TÜV, and ISO are some of the most reputed ones among consumers, manufacturers, employers, and laborers. These certifications signify essential health, safety, environment, and compatibility requirements and ensure consumers of the quality of the products.

Electric Tools Standards

Electric tools standards have been made for plenty of reasons. Safety, calibration, consistent quality, and performance are some of these reasons. As we mentioned some of these standards are mandatory to follow. Other standards are implemented by manufacturers voluntarily. The main incentive for companies implementing these voluntary benefits for companies is that it will help them to gain the trust of users. Companies that follow these voluntary guidelines can increase their reputation in the industry.

A circular saw is used plus info about risk factors of using electric tools
  • There are a lot of risks related to any type of electric equipment. Electrical shocks are a big risk. This is one of the main reasons many different regulations have been created for electrical equipment. Electric tools regulations are just one of the categories of rules and regulations related to these products.
  • Fires are some of the most dangerous risk factors in any environment where electric power tools or any other equipment are used. Electrical short circuits are one of the factors that can cause fires. Sparks generated from certain products like angle grinders can also lead to fires.
  • The body of any type of product that features an electric engine gets heated up if they are overused and it can lead to skin burns when they come in contact with the user’s body.
  • Mechanical injuries are also a huge risk factor when it comes to these products. This is also a big reason why power tools regulations have been created. Improper use of power tools can lead to cuts and lacerations, abrasions, bruises, crushing injuries, strains, and impact injuries.
  • Ergonomic hazards and risks associated with the improper use of extension cords are some of the risks associated with using electric power tools. All of these are reasons that we have safety regulations for these electric products.

Electric tools regulations relate to manufacturing practices as well as safety practices in the workplace. There are usually national regulation and enforcement bodies, like OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), that create rules and requirements and enforce them federally in the USA.

Most probably though, there are several institutions that create and enforce electric tools regulations in each country and locality. Each of these institutions focuses on one or two things. Some focus on fire safety. Others focus on grounding and electrical safety.

Other than safety, performance, calibration, and testing are also big concerns. Standards set by ISO and IEC usually focus on this aspect of electric tools standards. These institutions make guidelines and “requirements” that are not mandatory but applying them can lead to better performance of power tools and it can also garner the trust of customers.

Electric Tools Certification: How to Get Them?

The first step to getting the certification for anything you produce as a manufacturer is researching the standards set by standardization bodies in your area, this could be OSHA in the US, CE in the EU, or other local organizations. Electric tools certifications are no different. To get the proper electric tools licenses, make sure that the products you manufacture comply with the electric tools licenses you want to acquire. The next step is simply submitting your application to your desired organization. Your products will then be inspected by those institutions.

Pneumatic Tools Standards

If you are a manufacturer who is interested in getting pneumatic tools licenses, you can benefit from reading this section. Standards for pneumatic tools have been created and implemented for the same reasons as standards for electric products. Performance, calibration, consistent quality, and most importantly safety. Other topics and issues that pneumatic tools standards cover are things like proper installation, maintenance, and different training requirements for users.

As we mentioned previously, safety concerns are the most important issue that makes the existence of standards and regulations necessary. In the next section, we will talk in detail about safety concerns related to pneumatic tools.

  • Pneumatic tools come with a lot of risks and hazards. Air pressure can cause injection and puncture wounds.
  • There is also the risk of flying debris and particles. Air pressure can shoot different stuff out of air tools.
  • There are also a ton of ergonomic hazards. Pneumatic tools can be heavy and require forceful grip and repetitive movements. If proper pneumatic tools standards are not followed regarding ergonomic factors it can lead to injuries such as hand-arm vibration syndrome or musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Noise hazards are also important to consider. Pneumatic products can lead to hearing damage if proper air tool standards are not followed. Some other risks related to air tools are air hose hazards, tool malfunctions, and air supply hazards.
An air impact wrench is used plus risk factors of using air tools

Similar to electric tools standards, there are also several institutions that create and enforce air tools regulations. If you are a manufacturer, you need to find out which power tools standards and regulations you need to follow. As an employer, you are also responsible for following rules and regulations related to pneumatic tools if these products are used in your workspace.

OSHA and EU Commission are institutions that create and enforce pneumatic tools regulations, in the US and the European Union respectively. Based on the country and area that companies and employers are a part of they need to follow pneumatic tools regulations set by different regulatory bodies. In the next section, we will talk about how you can get proper air tools licenses.

Pneumatic Tools Certifications: How to Get Them?

As we mentioned previously, you first need to research any standard that you want to acquire. Depending on your area, there are different bodies that hold the responsibility of making guidelines for the manufacturing of pneumatic tools like OSHA or CE. To get pneumatic tools certifications, you need to make sure that your products comply with the standards that you require. After you submit your applications, you will then get inspected by the organizations that you seek to get air tools certifications from.

Cordless Tools Standards

The same requirements and guidelines related to corded electric tools apply to cordless models as well. For the most part, cordless tools regulations and cordless tools standards are the same as their electric counterparts. What distinguishes cordless products from corded models is that they include batteries.

An impact driver is used plus info about standards of cordless tools

There are several regulations related to batteries as batteries come with their own safety issues. Leakage, thermal runaway, overheating and fire risks, and short circuits are the most concerning safety issues related to batteries. To get the proper power tool licenses if you manufacture cordless tools, you just need to get the certifications for electric tools plus the requirements that relate to batteries.

Again, rules, requirements, and guidelines related to batteries are unique in every country and area. EU has several regulations related to batteries. Based on the area that different companies and employers operate in, there are different bodies whose requirements and rules you should follow.

What are the different types of power tool standards?

There are different standardization organizations relating to power tools. Some of these institutions are official government bodies that create mandatory regulations to be followed in their constituent locality.

What are the most important standards for power tools?

The most important standards for power tools are always the ones related to safety. These standards are usually mandatory by the government bodies that provide and enforce regulations in your constituency.

What are the different types of power tools certifications?

Power tool manufacturers need to always be aware of different types of required certifications. These certifications are related to health, safety, performance, environmental factors, and quality.

What are the most important certifications for power tools?

The most important certifications depend on where you are located as a manufacturer and where you want to sell your product. Certifications given out by UL, CE, ANSI, TÜV, and ISO are some of the most trusted and reputed.

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13 November 2023

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