Working with wire strippers is an extensive task for electricians and electronics technicians; however, no matter how much practice one has with this tool, accidents can still happen. How to prevent them?
In this article we will review the most important security tips to use this useful tool safely and correctly.
Errors when using the wire stripper
What can go wrong when using a wire stripper? Well many things. It depends on the type of stripper, but generally the problems appear due to cuts caused by the edge, pinching caused by the pliers and electrocution due to contact with cables or wires. alive. Let’s take a closer look at these three major usage errors.
Cuts caused by the edge of the wire stripper
The cutting area of wire stripper it is usually small, and in those that are security they are practically out of reach of the operator.
On exposed edge models, the operator may inadvertently place a fingernail or finger there while working with the tool. This error occurs mainly due to distractions at work, or due to fatigue due to a repetitive task.
Tip: never work in conditions of distraction or fatigue, especially if you are handling a sharp object. This is not only valid for wire stripper, but also for any other tool. Work in half-hour blocks and take a short break; This, in addition to increasing your productivity, will also help to rest your eyes and restore your ability to concentrate.
Pinching caused by the action of the wire stripper
Here the accident can occur due to distraction, recklessness or inadequate working conditions.
Sometimes the electronics technician or electrician must handle substances such as oils (to pass cables through conduits in the wall), which remain in the hands and then prevent the correct grip of the wire stripper. When operating it, the hand can slip and get caught in the pressure area of the clamp.
Tip: Whenever you handle lubricating substances, sanitize your hands. Remember that if you do get a cut, the presence of foreign products could cause a serious infection.
The third cause of accidents with wire stripper It is the electrical shock caused by the attempt to work on cables that are energized.
Although a percentage of this type of accident is caused by the mere negligence of the operator, most cases are the result of carelessness on the part of third parties or a failure at another point in the installation that energizes the cable on which it is being operated. working.
Tip: always make sure that the cable you will be working on is de-energized, and that there is no risk of false contact with other energized cables within the circuit. If you suspect that the installation is not in optimal safety conditions, interrupt the power supply. Never operate the stripper on an energized cable. unless the tool has a certificate that guarantees its isolation.
Safety wire strippers: are they worth it?
The short answer is: yes, if you can, buy them. The longer answer deserves a more detailed analysis of what are the advantages obtained from the purchase of this type of wire stripper.
To begin with, the edge on these models is hidden, out of the accidental reach of the hand or fingers. This allows them to be operated safely, without the risk of pinching or lacerations.
Another important advantage is that these models are generally ergonomic, which protects your joints by making them work in a more natural way. If you are an electronics technician or work as an electrician, do not hesitate to purchase one of these models.
Traditional wire strippers: how to use them properly?
There are basically three models of traditional wire strippers, which differ in their conception and in the way they work. We also have the traditional method of the pliers and the clamp, but it should only be used when we do not have a wire stripper at hand.
The most compact model, which most electricians choose, works by pressing two crossed blades like scissors, and allows you to cut a cable or remove its insulation.
Some models also allow crimp or install terminals on the tips. Almost all of them have different housings graduated according to the diameter of the cable, with which the task of removing the plastic is done quickly and efficiently.
The main problem with this model, in which the edges are exposed, is that carelessness can cause lacerations, deep cuts, punctures and, in severe cases, the loss of a finger.
Always use it holding it by the handle, with your fingers away from the cutting area, and always in your fist. If you have to hold the cable with your other hand, try to keep it away from the edges.
other model of Cable stripping typical is the one in the photo we see above. East wire stripper It operates through the pressure of two levers, and allows to automatically strip the ends of the cables, or cut them by means of a shear located under the jaw.
They are usually robust and reliable, and much safer in their operation than the model that we saw above. However, few models have an insulated handle, and the shears have cutting edges within a finger’s reach, so they are still relatively dangerous if you work distractedly or with live wires (something that, as we saw earlier, should not be done with tools without 1000V certification).
Always try to keep your fingers closed into a fist, away from the shearing area.
There is a third, more recent model that allows you to cut or strip wires without exposing your finger or hand, although due to its design, an accident is still possible, even if operated correctly (gripping the tool by the tip). such risk is minimized.
For cut or strip wires With this type of wire stripper, always grab the tip to close it, and with the other hand twist the wire. Its operation is more comfortable if it is carried out on a table or a flat surface where the wire stripper can be placed.
In general, these types of models are classified according to the cutting capacity in millimeters, they are easy to operate and particularly suitable for making joints, derivations and for strip complex cables such as sintenax.