RR714 - Evaluation of product documentation provided by suppliers of hand held power tools

As part of the Noise and Hand-arm Vibration (HAV) Programme supply project, HSE Specialist Inspectors visited manufacturers and suppliers of hand held power tools in the UK to look for evidence of compliance with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992, as amended. During these inspections, samples of technical, user and supplementary information provided by suppliers were collected. This project aimed to: assess how legible, readable and understandable the user documentation provided by suppliers was; and to identify examples of good practice in the design of written health and safety information for hand held power tools.

A sample of ten user documents provided by manufacturers and suppliers of professional hand held power tools were assessed against research based guidelines for effective written risk communication. This study identified some examples of effective risk communication in the product manuals and leaflets evaluated. However, there were areas where the documentation could be improved concerning legibility, conspicuity, readability, recall and encouraging user compliance.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2021-04-23