Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Using Glue Guns Safely
Posted by David Cant on July 29, 2011
1 Comment

Glue guns are generally safe tools to use, although misuse and carelessness can result in hazards being created. Due to the temperature at which the adhesive applicators are used, it’s important to consider health and safety when using them to avoid accidents.

Safe Use of Glue Guns

To avoid any injury it’s important to use the correct equipment and procedures surrounding glue guns.

  • Protective gloves should be worn throughout the application to reduce the risk of burns.
  • Wear the protective gloves after application for cleaning the molten adhesive from the nozzle. This can’t be done when the adhesive has cooled down as it will return to solid state and prove difficult to remove.
  • The glue gun should be unplugged if it isn’t intended to be used for 40 minutes or more. They generally take between 7 and 10 minutes to reach the adequate temperature. The gun should never be used before it’s reached the correct temperature.

Possible Risks

Glue sticks and guns are designed to be safe for industrial but there are still slight health risks due to the high temperatures that are required to reach the molten state. Wearing safety equipment such as protective goggles and overalls can help to reduce the risk of thermal burns.


Inhalation is generally not a problem unless the hot melt has overheated. Overheating can cause the chemical compounds to break down and release a potentially toxic and irritant vapour. This highlights the importance of using the adhesives at the intended temperature.

Eye Contact

Hot melt adhesives propose minimal danger regarding contact with the eyes when in their solid, cool state.  Eyes which have been subject to contact with a cold adhesive should be rinsed thoroughly with clean water.

When the adhesive is in a molten state it can pose a greater hazard to the eye. Affected eyes should be rinsed with copious amounts of clean water and medical advice should be sought immediately in this instance.

Skin Contact

After skin comes into contact with hot melt adhesive in its solid state hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Extra care needs to be taken when using the hot, molten adhesive. If a person is burned they should immerse the affected area in cold water to reduce the burning sensation. Once the burn has cooled, medical advice should be sought. The injured person may be advised to remove the adhesive from the skin by applying olive oil or liquid paraffin to the affected area. This should never be practiced without the approval of a doctor.

As with any appliance that requires heat and adhesive materials, vigilance and awareness is paramount. If used as directed, glue guns can be useful and efficient tools within the construction industry and for DIY projects.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Guest Blogger, Workplace Safety

One Comment

  1. August 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I want to know the side effects of using Glue guns, i think one can start using glue guns.Thank you for sharing the information.

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