A soldering iron is a nifty little tool that's useful for a number of tasks. You can use them to reconnect damaged or broken the wires, fix circuit boards, repair jewelry, run plumbing work, and much more. They work on the principle of heating an element hot enough so it's able to melt certain types of metal. Because of the extreme heat produced by soldering irons, though, it's important for works to follow some basic safety precautions when using them.
Watch The Tip!
The tip of a soldering iron (heating element) is capable of reaching 800+ degrees Fahrenheit, so you'll want to use caution to avoid touching it with your bare skin. Even if it's for a split second, touching the active tip of a soldering iron can leave some pretty serious burns behind.
When the soldering iron is turned on, don't place it on a desk, workstation, carpet or similar surface. The extreme heat it produces may start a fire on surfaces such as this. Instead, place the soldering iron back on its cradle or a fire-resistant mat designed specifically for soldering irons.
You should first gear up in the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) before using a soldering iron. This includes a pair of thick, thermal gloves to help prevent burns, along with a pair of safety goggles to prevent eye injury caused from splashing. Taking the time to gear up in these items will help keep you safe while preventing injury caused from soldering irons.
Lead Solder Warning
Some of the older types of solder contain toxic lead. Using a soldering iron with lead solder can send the toxic fumes into your respiratory system or through the pores of your skin. If you aren't sure whether or not your solder contains toxic, throw it away and buy a new batch. Lead poisoning isn't something that's worth taking the risk.
As with any electrical device, there's always the possibility of shock when a soldering iron is improperly used. Only plug the device into a grounded outlet that's not overloaded with over electrical devices. If you notice the soldering iron's electrical cord is bent, broken or otherwise damaged, discontinue use and take it to a professional electrical for repair.
Following these tips will allow you to safety use a soldering iron without fear of injury. Most importantly, though, pay attention to the heating element and always be conscious of what it's touching.