How to Stay Safe When Using a Paper Shredder

Paper shredders have become indispensable office machines. Using a shredder is one of the best ways to protect financial data, personnel files, and proprietary information. There are even some machines that can shred items like credit cards and CD’s so you can have additional security. However, it’s extremely important to always be careful when using a paper shredder since these machines can be very dangerous. Luckily, you can use a shredder safely by following these tips:

  • If you don’t already have a shredder for your office, make sure you choose one that has good safety features. For example, some Fellowes shredders have sensors that can detect when the user’s hands are too close to the feed opening. The shredder shuts down as soon as this happens. Also, there are some Dahle machines that will actually stop when you tell them to. At the minimum, the machine you choose should have an interlock switch so the machine won’t be used accidentally.
  • Make sure you read your shredder’s instruction manual so you know exactly how to use the machine. After you plug the device in, tuck the cord away so people won’t trip on it.
  • Always keep scarves, ties, jewelery, long hair, and your hands as far away from the shredder’s feed opening as possible. You should also stay alert as you shred so you can be well aware of what the machine is doing.
  • Never try to shred more than the machine can handle. Your shredder’s instruction manual should list the machine’s shredding capacity and it will also let you know if any multimedia items can be processed. Don’t try to shred items like CD’s, floppy disks, or credit cards if your machine can only shred paper.
  • If the shredder overheats while you’re using it, you should shut it off and unplug it. Let the machine sit for 15 to 20 minutes before you try using it again. If you can’t get the shredder to work after that, call a professional since the machine might need to be repaired or replaced. Do not try to repair the shredder yourself.
  • When it comes time to empty the shredder’s waste bin, make sure the machine is turned off and preferably unplugged. You don’t want the cutters to be rotating when your hand could accidentally come into contact with them.
  • Oiling your shredder is necessary if you want to keep it in good shape. You will need to use specially formulated shredder oil to do this. Although it may be tempting to use another kind of oil, resist the temptation.
  • Finally, turn the shredder off when you’re done.

Paper shredders are easy to use and they’re essential office machines. Be sure to follow the tips listed above so you can safely use your shredder.
Brie Beazley is a Staff Writer for, an Oregon-based retailer of document finishing equipment and supplies.

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