The European Union (EU) Machinery Directive mandates that manufacturers inform the EU user of hand-held tools about the vibration values emitting acceleration exceeding 2.5 m/s2.(1) Emission assessment and declaration guidelines exist (ISO 20643 and EN 60745).(2) The goal of this study was to review and compare published manufacturer information for users of hand-tool used in the construction and rail-maintenance industries in the North American (NA) and EU market.Methods
A product information search of hand-operated tools was performed utilising online resources in the specific EU and NA market. Vibration data from independent or governmental sources was compared with manufacturer information.Results
A comparison of leading EU and NA manufacturers’ (n=18) web sites, sales catalogues, product manuals, and expert interviews showed vibration emissions should by listed i.e. breakers, grinders, tamping guns, spiking guns, rail drills, grinders, spike pullers/drivers, tampers and saws. Only one international manufacturer listed in the EU and NA markets vibration emission information following the ISO standard. The majority of manufacturers in both markets (n=17) did not list any or only partial information about the vibration levels (ah,) uncertainty factor (K), and the utilised measurement standard. In the EU one third of the listings showed the required emission information and the measurement standard was mentioned in 40%. In the NA market 20% of the hand-tools showed any vibration information and more than half had no emission listing at all. Variation of the measurement standards utilised by the manufacturer limit a comparison of tools from different manufacturer.Conclusion
This study showed that compared to the EU only very limited information and specific data is provided by international manufacturer in the NA market about HAV emissions of hand tools used in construction and rail industry. A user is often left required to make decisions with insufficient or conflicting information.