Steel Strapping Safety: How To Stay Safe When Using Strapping Tools, Part 1

stainless steel toolsMost of us know how prevalent stainless steel strapping is, as it can be used in a wide array of industries and applications. In the metal handling field, for example, stainless steel tools are used to secure items, while municipal workers use sign banding to fasten signals and signs to large poles. That’s no surprise, seeing as steel strapping is now manufactured in all kinds of sizes, from three-eighths of an inch by .015 to three-fourths of an inch by 0.30. While these stainless steel tools are used in different ways, the common thread is that workers need to be safe when they’re working with these components. Specific safety regulations will no doubt vary between industries, but there are some general guidelines to keep in mind when working with metal strapping and other stainless steel tools. Part one of this post will deal with safety garments and how to stay safe while cutting steel straps, while part two will discuss material handling.

What to wear when working with metal strapping
The safety equipment and gear will somewhat depend on your field, but there are certain pieces that are non-negotiables. You should always wear protective gloves when handling steel strapping, and steel-reinforced safety shoes or boots are also a must. Operators and bystanders should always wear safety goggles, too. As a rule, you should avoid wearing loose clothing and jewelry when working with steel strapping. If you’re working on roadways, you should wear high-visibility clothing; otherwise, jeans or work pants and a long-sleeved shirt may be recommended.

How to stay safe when cutting strapping
When cutting strapping, you need to use the proper tools. There are cutters designed for this cause in mind, so you should stick to using these, rather than other tools you might have on-hand. Be sure to cut carefully, too. When possible, do not cut when the band is under tension, as this can cause the strapping to spring back and cause damage. If you need to cut vertically tensioned strapping, you should stand to one side, hold the strapping against the item it’s keeping together, and cut below where you’re holding. This will cause the strapping to rebound in a downward motion, which will prevent injuries. When cutting strapping that’s tensioned horizontally, stand against the item the strapping is keeping together and cut to the right of where you’re holding the strapping. The strapping will rebound further to the right of you, preventing personal injury. In both cases, make sure observers stand far away to avoid harm.

You should always refer to your employer and/or your employee safety handbook for exact guidelines on the use of safety equipment and gear, as well as best practices for dealing with situations like the ones outlined above. However, we hope part one of this series has given you a clear and concise idea of the necessities for cutting steel strapping and how to protect yourself while doing it. Stay tuned for part two of this series, wherein we’ll discuss material handling safety.