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Safety of hair dryers

Again and again fatal accidents in connection with the use of hand-held hair dryers are reported in Germany and other countries. Both adults and children are affected. The reason can lie in the hair dryer's unsatisfactory safety level. This expert's report is intended to clarify the situation. In the course of this:

- statistical data on accidents with hair dryers are collected (for Germany, selected European and non-European countries),

- the safety solutions for hair dryers available on the market today (for Germany, selected European and non-European countries) are evaluated from a safety aspect,

- the available safety solutions ("state of the art of science and technology") are determined and evaluated, and

- a technical solution is derived for "hair dryers with a safety function".

The current method for recording accident data is described. Data on accidents with hair dryers are derived from an analysis of publically available databases and supplemented through research in public media and literature sources. A comparison of the accident situation with hair dryers in Germany and in the USA is carried out.

In the safety considerations regarding the hand-held hair dryer only measures for protection against electric shock are examined in detail. The present safety solution in Europe for this protection in hair dryers is considered critically. Because at present the safety measure involving a residual-current circuit-breaker (RCD) in the building's electrical installation is included in the hair dryer's safety concept, fitting buildings with this equipment and the residual risks are examined. A further possibility for reducing the potential risk of the electrical current - polarised domestic plugs - is described.

It is shown that the USA already applies better technical solutions for protection against electric shock than Europe.

A technical solution for "hair dryers with a safety function" is described that was developed and tested based on theoretical considerations in the technical literature in Germany. This solution requires the amendment of standards.

Recommendations for improving the present situation are given in the conclusions.

Bibliographic information

A. Holfeld, C. Lochner:
Safety of hair dryers. 
1. edition. Dortmund: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin 2014. pages 39, PDF file

download file "Safety of hair dryers" (PDF, 547 KB, Not barrier-free file)