Soldering Safety 116

This class gives an overview of soldering safety procedures. Soldering technicians must know which personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear and how to safely use tools. To maintain a safe environment, technicians must understand the importance of tidiness and ergonomics around the soldering workstation. In addition, solder and flux can pose different health risks, such as high temperatures that cause fires and burns, and toxic fumes that require a fume extractor. Other potential soldering hazards include electrostatic discharge, which can start fires and harm components or the technician.

Without the proper safety precautions, soldering can cause burns, fires, and lingering health effects. Safe soldering practices reduce physical strain that impacts the technician’s health and the finished product. After taking this class, users will understand the necessary safety measures for soldering, including PPE and fire safety.

  • Difficulty Beginner

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 10

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Soldering Safety and PPE
  • Workstation Safety
  • Ergonomics for Soldering
  • Soldering Iron Safety
  • Soldering PPE and Safety Practices Review
  • Lead and Lead-Free Solder
  • Toxic Soldering Fumes
  • Electrostatic Discharge
  • Soldering Fire Safety
  • Final Review
  • Describe soldering safety and PPE.
  • Describe safety procedures for the soldering workstation.
  • Describe ergonomics for soldering.
  • Describe soldering iron safety practices.
  • Describe lead and lead-free solder.
  • Describe safety precautions for toxic soldering fumes.
  • Identify electrostatic discharge precautions.
  • Describe fire safety considerations for soldering.
Vocabulary Term

ABC fire extinguisher

A multi-purpose fire extinguisher rated for putting out fires caused by ordinary combustible materials, flammable liquids, flammable gases, and electrical equipment. ABC fire extinguishers are the only extinguishers approved for multiple types of fires.


A metal made by intentionally adding specific amounts of one or more other materials. An alloy often has improved mechanical and physical properties due to the added material.

American National Standards Institute

ANSI. An association that develops voluntary standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The American National Standards Institute provides guidance for handling electrostatic discharge in electronics fabrication.


Condition that causes an individual to not get enough oxygen-rich blood in their body, making them feel weak or tired. Anemia can result from overexposure to lead.

antistatic bags

A bag made of materials resistant to the build-up of electric charge. Antistatic bags are used to transport electrostatically sensitive electronic components.

antistatic containers

A container made of materials resistant to the build-up of electric charge. Antistatic containers include plastic containers that may be used to hold electronic components.

antistatic mat

A mat made of a material that conducts current away from a person or object and into the ground. Antistatic mats can prevent electrostatic discharge that could start a fire or damage sensitive electrical components.

antistatic wrist straps

A safety device worn around the wrist that conducts electricity away from the wearer and into the ground through a grounding cord attached to a grounded workstation. Antistatic wrist straps protect the technician and components from electrostatic discharge.


A process that combines a series of separate components into a single part. Assembly for soldering may include positioning parts on a printed circuit board then soldering them together.


Chronic lung disease characterized by fits of obstructed breathing or coughing. Asthma can be induced or worsened by exposure to soldering fumes.

base metals

One of the metals to be fused together by a joining process. Base metals do not melt during soldering.

carbon filter

A device used for filtering air or water that passes pollutants through a solid, compressed block of carbon. Carbon filters can be found in fume extractors.

cellulose sponges

A soft cleaning device fabricated from wood fibers. Cellulose sponges are used to clean solder off the tip of a soldering iron.


A fastening device for holding one or more parts. Clamps can be used to hold workpieces when soldering to prevent burns.

cubic meter

A unit of volume measurement in the metric system. A cubic meter measures the volume of a cube with edges that are one meter in length.


The flow of electricity. Current strength is called amperage and is measured in amperes (A).

electrical short

A type of electrical fault that causes current to flow along an unintended path. Electrical shorts can occur if water spills on the soldering iron.

electronics fabrication

The designing, testing, manufacturing, and distributing of electronic components and assemblies. Electronics fabrication poses the risk of electrostatic discharge, which can harm components or the technician.

electrostatic discharge

ESD. A release of static electricity that occurs when two charged objects come into contact. Electrostatic discharges can harm equipment and technicians.


Designed to decrease operator discomfort or fatigue and increase productivity. Ergonomic practices for soldering include maintaining good posture, using ergonomic furniture, and taking breaks.


Electrostatic discharge. A release of static electricity that occurs when two charged objects come into contact. ESD can harm equipment and technicians.

ESD Control Program

An established set of precautions taken to prevent electrostatic discharge during the manufacturing, processing, assembling, installing, packaging, labeling, servicing, testing, inspecting, and handling of electronic parts. ESD control programs protect soldering technicians and electronic parts from harm.

filler metal

Any metal added to a joint during a joining process like soldering, brazing, or welding. Filler metals for soldering are called solders.

fire hazard

Any condition or activity that presents an increased risk of fire. Fire hazards are present during soldering due to the high temperatures of the soldering iron and presence of flammable substances.

fire prevention plan

FPP. A set of proactive procedures implemented to avoid fires in the workplace. Fire prevention plans include a list of all fire hazards, the types of fire protection equipment needed to control these hazards, and other precautions.


FR. Made of materials that are designed to withstand burning and heat. Flame-resistant clothing can protect technicians from hot soldering irons.


Capable of easily and quickly catching fire. Flammable materials used for soldering include flux and isopropyl alcohol.


A substance that chemically cleans base metals to ensure proper and strong joining in soldering, brazing, and welding. Fluxes come in several types and can produce toxic fumes.

fume extractor

A fan or vent that diverts toxic fumes away from the soldering work area. Fume extractors are the most efficient protection against toxic fumes.


Airborne particulate matter that behaves similar to a gas. Fumes can pose health hazards if technicians inhale or are overexposed to them during soldering.


An air-like fluid that expands freely to fill any space available, regardless of its quantity. Gases can be hazardous and undetectable by the five sense


A protective hand covering that can prevent cuts, burns, contamination, and chemical absorption into the skin. Protective glove materials for soldering vary based on the project and include leather and latex.


A type of tight-fitting eye protection that completely covers the eyes, the sockets, and the surrounding facial area. Goggles offer protection from spattering solder.

grounded outlet

An electrical circuit that provides a low-resistance path to the ground or earth for stray currents. Grounded outlets can prevent electrical fires caused by short circuits.


A means of providing a safe alternate path for current in case it strays from its intended path. Grounding soldering technicians can prevent the build-up of static electricity.

hazardous waste bins

A portable waste container that stores hazardous waste to be transported, treated, or otherwise handled. Hazardous waste bins are used to contain toxic substances like lead solder.


A source of danger or possible injury. Hazards can be physical hazards, such as falling objects, or health hazards like chemical exposures.

high efficiency particulate air filter

HEPA filter. A disposable dry filter encased in metal or cardboard. High efficiency particulate air filters are normally paper and are regulated to extract at least 99.97% of dangerous particles, such as asbestos, from the air.

hot work

A process that produces heat, such as welding, brazing, soldering, or cutting. Hot work can pose potential fire hazards


Covered in a material that prevents the passage of electricity. Insulated grips on soldering irons prevent the handle from reaching high temperatures.

IPC International

A trade association, formally known as the Institute for Printed Circuits, that works to standardize requirements for the electronics industry. IPC International helps maintain soldering standards for electronics.

isopropyl alcohol

A colorless, flammable chemical compound with a strong odor used to clean and sterilize surfaces. Isopropyl alcohol is used in soldering for cleaning flux off electronics.


The point at which two pieces of material are bonded together. Joints form when molten solder cools and solidifies.

latex gloves

A protective hand covering made from a type of rubber called latex, which may be synthetic or natural. Latex gloves help protect against chemical absorption, contamination, and electrostatic discharge when soldering electronic components.


A soft, heavy, toxic, and malleable metal. Lead was often used in solder but is being phased out because of its harmful health and environmental effects.

lead solder

A filler metal alloy that contains lead and has a low melting point. Lead solder overexposure can damage the kidneys, reproductive system, and nervous system.

lead-free solder

A filler metal alloy that contains less than 0.2% lead and has a low melting point. Lead-free solder can still affect a soldering technician's health depending on the metals in the solder.


A heavy fabric made from animal hide. Leather protects technicians from sharp objects and hot materials.


A state of matter that is cohesive and can flow. Solids turn into liquids when heated to their melting point.


A unit of measurement that equals one millionth of a gram. Micrograms are a unit of mass in the metric system.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OSHA. A federal agency under the U.S. Department of Labor that ensures safe working conditions and helps employers reduce injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration creates regulations that ensure employees work in a safe and healthy environment.


Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A federal agency under the U.S. Department of Labor that ensures safe working conditions and helps employers reduce injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the workplace. OSHA creates regulations that ensure employees work in a safe and healthy environment.


Prolonged and repeated exposure to a substance that exceeds specified safe levels. Overexposure to lead fumes while soldering can cause unpleasant health effects.

P.A.S.S. technique

A common procedure for operating fire extinguishers. The P.A.S.S. technique stands for PULL, AIM, SQUEEZE, and SWEEP.

particulate respirator

A type of air-purifying respirator that traps particles of contaminants, such as dust and mold, in a fibrous filter. Particulate respirators protect against harmful fumes while soldering.

personal protective equipment

PPE. Any clothing or device worn to minimize exposure to hazards and prevent injury. Personal protective equipment for soldering should include protective eyewear, gloves, and flame-resistant clothing.

plug-in timer

A device that plugs into a wall outlet and contains a timer to control when an electrical device shuts off. Plug-in timers can be used to automatically shut soldering irons off at preset intervals.


Personal protective equipment. Any clothing or device worn to minimize exposure to hazards and prevent injury. PPE for soldering should include protective eyewear, gloves, and flame-resistant clothing

printed circuit boards

PCBs. A layered construction of conductive and nonconductive material used to mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components. Printed circuit boards require soldering to join electrical components to the board.

protective eyewear

Any piece of PPE that protects the eyes. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and safety goggles.

rosin flux

A flux made of rosin, which is a substance derived from the sap of pine trees. Rosin flux can harm the lungs if inhaled.

rubber bench mats

A sturdy surface made of rubber that protects a worktable or surface from potential damage. Rubber bench mats can help prevent electrostatic discharge.

Safety Data Sheets

SDS. A mandatory document for almost every chemical in the workplace that contains health and safety information about the substance. Safety Data Sheets detail the composition of chemicals and the hazards, precautions, and first aid procedures associated with them.

safety glasses

A form of protective eyewear, usually made of thick plastic, that shields the eyes from flying debris and other potentially hazardous materials. Safety glasses protect eyes from molten solder while soldering.


Safety Data Sheet. A mandatory document for almost every chemical in the workplace that contains health and safety information about the substance. SDSs detail the composition of chemicals and the hazards, precautions, and first aid procedures associated with them.


A visible suspension of particles in air typically produced by burning substances. Smoke may visibly emerge while soldering and, without proper protection, cause harm to the operator.


A filler metal alloy that has a low melting point and is used to join metals. Solder fumes and molten solder are harmful to technicians.


A low-heat metal joining process in which a filler metal is heated to liquid form, then cooled to form a joint. Soldering requires safety precautions due to the high temperatures and toxic materials used in the process.

soldering iron

A tool used to transfer heat onto a metal surface and melt solder, which forms a joint. Soldering irons transfer heat through conduction.

soldering iron stand

A nonflammable stand used for resting a hot soldering iron. Soldering iron stands help prevent work surfaces from catching on fire.

soldering technicians

A person who solders. Soldering technicians may use hand soldering for repairing or working on difficult electronic components.

three-point grasp

A type of grip that uses the thumb, index finger, and middle finger to hold a device. A three-point grasp helps precisely guide a soldering iron.


A silvery white metal that is very soft and has poor strength. Tin is used in solder for its low melting point and can cause unpleasant symptoms if ingested or inhaled.


A forceps-like device used for grasping small objects. Tweezers can be used for placing or holding small electronic devices during soldering.


A gaseous form of a substance that is a liquid or solid at lower temperatures. Vapor from flammable liquids like flux can ignite or cause harm to the solderer.


A means of providing clean air or cleaning and re-circulating air. Ventilation systems for soldering often use fume extractors.


A workholding device with two jaws that grip and hold a workpiece in place. Vises can be used to hold workpieces when soldering to prevent burns.


The behavior of a liquid spreading out over a solid surface. Solders with good wetting capability are important because they spread out evenly across the base metals.


A material that is being machined or undergoing another type of processing. Workpieces in soldering often include electronic parts or pipes.


An area where work tasks are performed. Workstations for soldering should be free of clutter, unnecessary flammable materials, and food and drink.