Use and maintenance of insulated tools are beyond the scope of the existing standards and specifications. You should use insulated tools for their intended applications only; for example, screwdrivers should not be used to pry or chisel. You should never modify or alter a tool from its original design. For instance, cutting back the insulation on a socket for use in tight spaces could in fact expose the worker to injury.
Because moisture, films, or other surface contaminants are conductive, insulated tools must be kept clean, dry, and free of any surface contaminants. The cleaning of insulated tools can be accomplished by using the same specialty concentrated detergent used to remove oils, grease and dirt from rubber insulated gloves. The important thing to remember when using cleaning agents is to ensure the agent does not contain any chemicals which may harm or lessen the protective value of the insulating coating. The ultimate goal is to get a residue free surface after cleaning and maintaining the insulation integrity of the tool.
Insulated hand tools should be stored properly to minimize the risk of damage to the insulation. Avoid storing in proximity to sources of heat such as radiators, furnaces, and steam pipes.
The barrier material used to produce insulating tools is impact-resistant and flame retardant and there is no re-certification process for insulated tools. Inspect all tools before use and discard tools that show any signs of visible damage. The ASTM F1505 standard allows for both single and double layer coatings. If double layer coatings are used, they should be of contrasting colors.
Overlapping two-color insulated tools make inspection easier which adds to overall safety. If the underlayer color is showing through the over layer color, the tool is no longer considered properly insulated and should be replaced. While there is no specific requirement in regard to color other than the layers being contrasting, the industry has adopted the use of orange for the outer layer and yellow for the inner layer for all-purpose tools. Most manufacturers producing double layer insulated tools follow this color pattern thus allowing the inner layer to be seen during the tool inspection process. Note that specialty tools made from Aluminum-Bronze and Copper-Beryllium alloys that are non-sparking and non-magnetic and are insulated will also have a color-contrasting double layer coating. To differentiate from all-purpose tools, these specialty tools use another color for the outer insulating layer.
For safety reasons other than shock and arc flash hazards, it is recommended that appropriate eye and hand protection be worn when using any type of hand tool. To fully comply with the CSA Z462-15 standard, truly insulated hand tools should be used if there is any chance that the tool will make contact with an energized source. A complete insulated tool program meeting these standards is achievable; you simply need to ensure that all your tools meet the ASTM F1505 and/or IEC 60903 standards for insulated hand tools. Contributed by: Roger Farmer, Salisbury by Honeywell