Most of the tips in this soldering safety guide have been written with the beginner in mind and are mostly common sense, however, even for seasoned soldering enthusiasts it doesn’t hurt to occasionally remind ourselves of the possible dangers of soldering and how to avoid them.
If you are new to soldering you have to understand that soldering safety is not optional it is a necessity. By placing yourself within a safe environment and understanding the risks associated with soldering you are greatly reducing the risk of injury to yourself and others around you.
1. Never touch the tip of metal shaft of the iron. This may seem like a stupid thing to say, however, I have seen some real nasty burns caused by people dropping the iron and either trying to catch it or picking it up by the tip. Soldering irons can reach temperatures in excess of 400 Deg C.
2. Use an iron holder with a heavy base to store the iron in when not in use. Never rest the iron on the bench.
3. Keep the iron away from the station’s power cord. If the cord does get damaged, replace it.
4. Clean the iron’s tip with a sponge or wire cleaner, never attempt to remove excess solder by flicking it off the tip.
5. Wear safety glass, goggles or a visor to stop any lead spitting into your eyes.
6. Wear gloves and long sleeved clothing to prevent burns to your hands and arms. Gloves will also prevent lead absorbing through
the skin and possible ingestion.
7. If you are not wearing gloves, wash your hands after soldering to remove any lead traces.
8. Never eat or smoke at the work bench.
9. Make sure the work area is clean, tidy and free from any combustible materials.
10. Use a heat resistant soldering mat to avoid burning the surface of the work area.
11. If you are soldering small components or PCB’s, use a vice or helping hands to hold them steady.
12. Avoid hanging your head over the component when soldering, breathing in lead fumes is not a good idea and can cause all sorts of repertory and eye problems. Use a magnifying lamp and fume extractor.
13. Unplug the station from the mains when not in use.
14. Keep a small fire extinguisher handy for emergencies.
15. Never solder a live circuit.
16. Give any soldered surface a minute or two to cool down before you touch it.
17. Collect waste in a sealable container and make sure it is labeled correctly.
That’s about it for the soldering safety, happy soldering!