No matter what it is you’re doing, safety always needs to come first. From working in the kitchen to enjoying your hobby to doing home maintenance, you should always consider your safety and that of others whenever you use any kind of tool. This includes pliers – from lineman pliers for electrical work to screw extraction pliers and everything in between.
It might not seem that pliers would be particularly hazardous, especially if you compare them with other tools like drills, saws, and power tools, but don’t be deceived: if you don’t pay attention and take care, pliers can certainly cause harm to you, another person, or the materials you are working with.
There are some basic guidelines to follow to ensure your use of pliers is safe.
- Always protect your eyes! When you are cutting wire, or removing a stripped screw, or doing any other work with pliers, debris can fly into the air and into your face. Wear protective goggles or glasses each and every time.
- Only use pliers for their intended job. Never use pliers in place of a hammer, shears, or any other tool – they have their own purpose. Using them incorrectly and for the wrong application can damage the pliers and also cause accidents.
- Use the correct pliers for the job at hand. This means using only designated wire cutting pliers for cutting wire; needle-nose or long-nose pliers for tight spaces; and screw extraction pliers for removing damaged or stripped screws.
- Never force pliers. Pliers come in varying levels of capability, and this is why you should have a set of pliers rather than a single pair that you use for every job. Some pliers are specifically intended for light tasks only, while others suit heavy duty use. Forcing pliers beyond their capability may result in them breaking or springing.
- Don’t expose your pliers to excessive heat. Even the sturdiest pliers are sensitive to very high levels of heat, and they will become damaged, possibly beyond repair, if they are exposed to an open or direct flame or otherwise very high temperatures.
- Only cut with designated cutting pliers and only at right angles to the wire. Don’t rock the pliers from side to side to affect a cut! This may nick the cutting edge of the pliers and will eventually make them blunt.
- Never ever use pliers – even electrician’s lineman pliers – on live wires. This is not safe under any circumstance. Only a professional and qualified electrician should ever work with live electricals.
- To keep your pliers in prime condition, add a drop of oil at the joint of the pliers periodically. It will keep them opening and closing smoothly and help prevent rust and corrosion.
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