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What are the Safety Features to Look For When Buying a Guillotine Paper Cutter?

Jeff McRitchie posted this on May 6, 2016

Guillotine paper cutters have developed something of a dangerous reputation. Because they are equipped with extremely sharp blades and exert substantial force, they are effective in getting things done. The same features that make paper cutters effective also make them dangerous. Because of these things, accidents involving these paper cutters do occur from time to time. Paper cutters are available in more styles than you can possibly imagine. There are literally hundreds of styles of available. Not all paper cutters are built the same-especially when it comes to quality and safety. If you are considering purchasing this type of machine, you can read this article for some information on critical safety features of the guillotine paper cutter.

Blade Guard 
The blade guard is, by far, the most important safety feature available on guillotine cutters. Surprisingly, many people remove the safety guard when they use the cutter. While the guard may be a little obtrusive, working without fingers is far more troublesome. Sometimes the blade guard is a metal bar positioned close to blade, but superior blade guards are made of plastic and will prevent users from getting their fingers near the blade on either side of the machine.

Blade Latch
The blade latch locks the blade down when you are not using the cutter. It is usually a small wire that simply hooks over the handle. Sometimes it’s a piece of metal connected to the bottom of the handle. The purpose of the blade latch is to keep the blade down so that no one accidentally or impulsively grabs, strokes, or touches the blade. Obviously any of these could result in a serious and potentially life-altering injury that could have been prevented by simply exercising some caution and common sense.

Tension Spring
All guillotine type units should be equipped with tension springs. The tension spring is attached to the back of the blade and is engineered to prevent the blade from rushing down when the handle is released. Guillotine cutters without this spring live up to their name, guillotine, and are very, very dangerous. You should never operate a paper cutter that has no tension spring. It is literally an accident waiting to happen. No paper cutting task is worth losing a digit over. If your cutter has no tension spring, put it in a safe and secure location until the tension spring can be replaced.

The biggest single factor in guillotine paper cutter safety is the user. There is simply no substitute for good common sense. Do not use one when you are distracted or when you cannot give your full attention to the task at hand. Even units with safety features can still cause accidents. These types of machines are wonderful tools because of their powerful blades and ability to easily cut through piles of paper. However, for the very same reasons it is a good tool, it is a dangerous one. Always exercise caution when using one of these machines and do not use one that isn’t equipped with safety features.

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