Sheet metal shears are specialized tools with strong enough blades to cut through sheet metal. You can purchase these shears in handheld scissors or electric power tool forms or in a stationary benchtop tool form that allows you to slide the sheet metal through the shears and push a handle down to cut the metal. No matter which type of shears you use, be cautious when it comes to the potential danger of using a sharp-bladed tool by practicing some basic safety tips for sheet metal shear use:
1. Wear Safety Gloves
When dealing with sharp blades and edges, you should always wear thick safety gloves. Kevlar and other durably-coated gloves make excellent choices. Normal gloves won't do. You need gloves that can withstand basic punctures and cuts from blades and sharp edges on the sheet metal.
2. Clear Off Your Workspace
An oft-overlooked but simple safety tip when it comes to shear safety is to clear off your workspace before you begin working with your sheet metal shears. Shavings, dirt and other clutter on your workspace can make benchtop shears unstable and can not only mess up your work, but can make your hand slip and make you more susceptible to cutting yourself. Having clutter on your workspace when using shear scissors can make your hand slip as well or make it difficult to cut if the clutter jams in the blades.
3. Hold the Tool by the Handle
An obvious but nevertheless essential safety tip for working with sheet metal shears is to only handle the tool by the handles. Do not carry the tools by the blades or by the power cord. You can cut yourself on the blades, and you can experience electric shock if you carry the tool by the power cord.
4. Make Sure the Work Area Is Well-Lit
Light can make a big difference when it comes to the safety of using sheet metal shears. Avoid cutting sheet metal in dark rooms so that you can oversee your work carefully.
5. Work Slowly
Even if you're used to working with sheet metal shears, it's important to remember to work slowly and not get so confident that you try cutting the sheet metal too quickly. Work slowly and carefully as you cut sheet metal.
6. Put the Tool Away After Use
It's important that you keep all tools out of the way when not in use. If using a handheld model, lock the shears away in a toolbox or storage locker. If using a benchtop model, unplug and cover the machine when not in use.
7. Clean the Tool Regularly
Metal shavings and oil can get caught in your sheet metal shears over time. These can wear down the tool's effectiveness and make it easier to get injured because sheet metal may get caught. At least once a week, if not after each use, you should make sure the tool is free of debris. Use a kevlar cloth and wear kevlar gloves as you wipe the blades.