Are Soldering Irons Dangerous?

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The soldering iron is one of the most vital tools needed by both professionals as well as hobbyists. This useful tool features a metal tip that becomes extremely hot once plugged into a socket for an extended duration. At these high temperatures, you’ll be able to carry out your soldering tasks without lots of strain.

However, one drawback is that using the soldering iron does have some element of risk involved. Because of this, you’ll need to remain very cautious when using this tool or else risk hurting yourself and anyone else in your workspace.

It’s thus advisable to adhere to the soldering iron safety tips to guarantee your wellbeing. If you don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place as in this article is an overview of the safety tips to consider when using your soldering iron.

Soldering Iron Safety Measures 

There are several safety measures you’ll need to put in place once you start using your soldering iron. These include:

  • Never touching the soldering iron’s element as it’s extremely hot with temperatures of over 400ºC. Any contact with it will cause you severe burn marks; therefore, it’s best to avoid this.
  • Continuously clean soldering iron using a wet sponge when using it.
  • Use clamps or tweezers when holding the wires that need to be heated by the soldering iron.
  • Make sure to switch off the soldering iron whenever it isn’t being used.
  • Ensure to place the soldering iron on its stand anytime you aren’t using it instead of placing it on the bench.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher near you and confirm it’s new and to the current required standards.
  • Never attempt to solder a live wire to avoid electrification.
  • Always have the safety goggles with you each time you’re using the soldering iron. 
  • It’s advisable to always extract the fumes, which should preferably be done using a ventilation system that vents out of the building. You can also opt for fans that feature filter boxes if you’re a DIY enthusiast.
  • Ensure the workspace you’ll use the soldering iron doesn’t have any papers or any combustible materials. 
  • Always wear gloves as well as clothing with long sleeves anytime you’re using your soldering iron. Doing this safeguards your skin very much from any possible exposure to heat.

Cleaning Procedures

You also need to observe several cleaning procedures when using your soldering iron. These measures are:

  • Always wash your hands meticulously once you’re done using the soldering iron. This is especially crucial once you’re just about to take a meal to avoid ruining its taste.
  • Keep away from any dirt particles from your workstation.
  • Make sure to wash the wet sponge repeatedly.
  • Ensure your workstation doesn’t have any clutter. By doing this, you can be sure that the soldering iron’s cords won’t get intertwined with other things. If you overlook this, there’s a high likelihood of an accident occurring, especially if the soldering falls and lands on whichever part of your body. You should also never attempt to grab a falling soldering iron to avoid injuring yourself.
  • Continuously clean the solvents inside the dispensing bottles.

Control The Fumes 

During the soldering process, toxic fumes are usually produced, which might cause serious respiratory issues. If you want to prevent this from happening, here are some safety measures to reduce the severity of these fumes.

  • Make sure to test and maintain every extract system at least once each year. This entails changing the filters frequently. You should also mark a date on the system or filter or maintain a log showing the filter changes. 
  • Only use benchtop filter extracts for rosin-free soldering in a perfectly ventilated room. 
  • Never try to solder anytime you suspect the filter is defective and should instead report the matter immediately. 
  • Only use rosin when soldering after getting the permission of the relevant Safety Office and should only be considered in sternly controlled environments. 
  • Ensure the smoke absorber is functioning correctly at all times to safeguard your body from the toxic fumes. 

Soldering Training 

Whereas using the soldering iron is often considered to be easy and straightforward, it’s crucial to have the required training. Through this training, you’ll be able to ensure your safety when using this tool. This means you need to:

  • Ensure you know how best to use the soldering iron before using one.
  • Going through online guides to see how best to use the soldering iron.
  • Seek help from a laboratory manager or teacher’s assistance for guidance on how to use this tool.
  • Checking out video guides on how to use a soldering iron.
  • Seek advice from a laboratory manager for old projects which can be used to enhance your soldering skills further.

Waste Management 

During the soldering process, lead soldering waste is usually produced, and this is typically hazardous. It’s thus necessary to adhere to the MA/DEO and EPA regulations if you produce lead soldering waste that states you need to collect and manage waste in a satellite accumulation area (SAA) properly.

You should also consider using a sealed plastic bag that has a red tag. In addition to this, the SAA containers need to be inspected every week to guarantee adherence to the following:

  • Closure – Every container should always be closed other than when adding waste material.
  • Storage – Use only a single lead waste container for every SAA. 
  • Removal – Filled containers need to be dated and removed on time from the SAA within 72 hours. 
  • Labeling – Make sure all the containers are correctly labeled. Usually, the red labels or red cards will be provided by the relevant safety authority, and here you must include several crucial details such as hazard classification, the waste material’s full chemical name, and the words “Hazardous Waste.” 

Conclusion 

The soldering iron is, without a doubt, an essential tool for DIY enthusiasts and professionals too. However, using it does come with some safety and health risk, so it’s crucial to remain cautious throughout the entire time you’re using it.

If you didn’t know where to start, reading this detailed article has provided you with comprehensive details on safety measures to put on place. Implementing these safety measures will see to it your guaranteed wellbeing.

About the Author Dan

Just a random guy who likes to build things. Providing tool knowledge, appliance/device testing tips, and DIY project info in an easy-to read & non-intimidating style.