Soldering is an effective way to join copper, galvanized and stainless steel for sheet metal fabricators and roofers. Because heated irons are used and there can be fumes involved, it is important for to keep the following safety tips in mind.
While most of these tips are common sense, it is always a good practice to take a look around your work area to ensure that proper safety protocols are in place. These safety tips can also be helpful when training your employees.
Below are 6 soldering safety tips to keep in mind:
1. Use your hot soldering iron with caution
When using a soldering iron, make certain not to touch the heated iron or the tip. Use clamps to hold the pieces together when soldering. This can help to prevent burning your hands.
When you aren’t using the soldering iron, put it back in its stand and don’t lay it on your workbench. And, of course, unplug the electric irons and shut off the gas flame when you are done soldering or aren’t using it.
2. Wear protective clothing
When you are soldering, the equipment can get very hot so it is important to wear long –sleeved shirts, closed-toe shoes, safety glasses or goggles and any other device such as a face shield that can protect you from burns and even eye injuries.
Soldering outside is ideal to prevent fume exposure if possible. Or if you are soldering inside, make sure that your work area is well-ventilated and try to use filter boxes that have HEPA filters and activated carbon.
3. Be mindful of gas safety
If your propane soldering iron has any damage to the base or regulator, it’s time to replace it. It is important to have a working regulator to control the gas pressure to the iron.
4. Use lead-free solder when possible
Whenever possible, use lead-free solder. It is well known due to OSHA guidelines that being exposed to lead can lead to health and safety concerns.
And, of course, the risk to exposure is greater for roofing contractors who use lead flashing for roofing applications. Wear gloves when handling 50/50 solder or lead and wash your hands after to remove any residue.
5. Have fire prevention & safety equipment handy
It is important to perform your soldering on a nonflammable surface that isn’t easily ignited. And, always have water handy and a fire extinguisher on your site that is up-to-date and ready to use. Better to be on the safe side even if you are conducting safe soldering habits.
6. Proper Clean up and housekeeping can keep the workplace safe
Always wash your hands thoroughly after soldering. Make sure to wipe off the tables where the soldering took place with cleaning solvents or water after your soldering has been completed.
Be sure to label your cleaning solvents clearly. And, of course, don’t bring any food or drinks into any area where the soldering has occurred.
A safe workplace is a better for you, your employees or anyone else that might walk into your assembly. While most of these tips are common sense, they can be a good refresher to keep top of mind when soldering.
If you have any questions on how to keep your workplace or equipment safe and/or in top condition, please contact our technical support team and they will be happy to help!