DIY and gardening made safer

IECEE at forefront in certification of portable electric tools

By Claire Marchand

Sunny days. Milder temperatures. No doubt spring is back. If you have a garden, it’s time to resume all the great outdoor activities the winter interrupted. Mowing the lawn, pruning the trees, fixing things around the house, uncovering and filling the pool (if you’re lucky enough to have one) and getting the barbecue ready are some of the tasks to be performed before you can relax and enjoy the good life in your garden.

Hedge trimmer Hedge trimmer

Powerful tools...

Gardening and doing DIY (do it yourself) in and around the house are leisure activities that can be very physical, requiring some strength and elbow grease. Electrical lawnmowers, hedge trimmers and cutters, shears or saws may be much easier to handle than the older tools they have replaced, but you’ll still be digging, weeding out, trimming, sawing, shearing or planting.

Not to forget the safety aspect. These electrical tools are extremely powerful and need to be handled with the utmost caution to avoid accidents and injuries.


Electrical hand-held tool manufacturers have at their disposal a vast array of standards and specifications for the design and production of these devices. The IEC in particular, through its TC (Technical Committee) 116: Safety of motor-operated electric tools, has published two series of International Standards that cover specific safety requirements in that field.

The first series is IEC 60745 covering safety requirements for hand-held motor-operated electric tools, such as several types of saws, drills, planers, trimmers, strapping tools, jointers, screwdrivers and impact wrenches, drain cleaners, cut-off machines, grinders, sanders and polishers, hammers, spray guns for non-flammable liquids and shears.

This series takes into consideration the common hazards presented by hand-held tools and encountered by all persons in the normal use and reasonably foreseeable misuse of the tools.

The second is IEC 61029 on safety requirements for transportable motor-operated electric tools that are not covered in IEC 60745 and include circular and other types of saws, bench grinders, threading machines, planers and thicknessers, diamond drills and single spindle vertical moulders.

Both series are built on the same model, with a Part 1 providing general requirements that apply to all types of tools and a Part 2 covering particular requirements for particular types of tools.

...tested and certified

Having these tools designed and manufactured according to IEC International Standards is just the first step. Manufacturers then need to prove that their products are indeed conforming to these standards. Again, the IEC has the solution, through IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components.

The IECEE CB Scheme, through its registered CBTLs (Certification Body Testing Laboratories) and NCBs (National Certification Bodies), can test and certify all electrical hand-held tools manufactured against the IEC series of International Standards listed above.

When testing hand-held electric tools, IECEE focuses on multiple aspects. These include protection against access to live parts, input and current, endurance, abnormal operation, mechanical hazards and strength, switches, internal wiring, supply connection and external flexible cords, provisions for earthing and resistance to heat, fire and rust.

The IECEE CB Scheme provides the assurance that tested and certified products meet the strictest safety, reliability and performance as per the requirements of the relevant IEC standards. It helps reduce costs and time to market, eliminates duplicate or multiple testing and offers a high level of confidence for manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike.

When the manufacturer needs a follow-up factory inspection, IECEE can also provide this service through the IECEE CB-FCS (Full Certification Scheme). In addition to the Type Test of the product, the Scheme also offers Factory Surveillance with sampling and re-testing service to ensure that the whole production is under control with respect to the initial assessment of the product and the assembly line.

Hedge trimmer Hedge trimmer
Circular saw Circular saw
Power drill Power drill