Over forty years ago, the then nationalised Area Electricity Boards, were experiencing problems in obtaining hand tools insulated to a high enough standard. To this end, senior engineers and safety officers from the Boards set up a working group to look into their requirements and to establish a specification that all tools needed to meet before they could be considered safe for live line working.
The group, which included the founder of our company, researched the basic tools that would be required and all aspects that needed to be covered in relation to insulating these tools. The outcome of this work was the initial ESI 26-3 specification, which stated that all tools must be able to pass an electrical test of 10,000 volts for 3 minutes whilst submerged in water.
The material must be able to function at temperatures from -20ºC to +70ºC, the material must also be able to withstand impact, be flame retardant, have a good adhesion to the tool and also have the minimum moisture retention.
This specification has now been superseded by the International IEC 60900, of which IEC 60900:2004 is the current version. Basically this specification is identical to the ESI 26-3.
Although PVC will meet the requirements of these tests, the members of the committee all agreed that the material Nylon 11 was by far the best option, in that it more than met the above requirements, plus it is a much harder wearing material and will withstand the rigours of being out in the field longer. This not only makes the tools more cost effective, but also gives the operator that essential protection for longer.
Now that the specification for Live Line Working Tools has been adopted worldwide an additional category has been included to take into account workers who have to operate in subzero temperatures.
In general tools have to be able to withstand impact at a temperature of -20ºC, as previously stated, but in certain countries this temperature can be reached on a regular basis, therefore tests at -20ºC do not offer adequate safety margins.
Now you can obtain tools which have been subjected to impact at temperatures down to -40ºC and these can carry the category "C" mark for identification.
We are proud to confirm that after carrying out the necessary tests on our products, the material Nylon 11, which makes our products unique, more than meets this additional specification, confirming once again that our tools are the best that money can buy.