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If you are using a heat gun, you should keep in mind the risks and dangers of using such a device. While it is impossible to eliminate all hazards, this guide covers some best practice regarding heat gun use to make your shrink wrapping as safe as possible.

Keep in mind this guide covers the use of manual heat guns. For large volume shrink wrapping, we strongly recommend investing in some shrink wrapping machinery and following our risk assessment for shrink wrap operators. If you are only shrink wrapping a small amount of material however and have decided to use a manual shrink wrap gun, these are some of our top suggestions for staying safe.


Before Using a Heat Gun

Health and safety report

First of all, make sure that you are using safety equipment. In particular, always use heat proof gloves and eye protection when using a heat gun.

Make sure where you are going to use the heat gun is clear of any debris or hazards, as any trip risks can pose a severe health risk. If you keep an area clear, then you are less likely to injure yourself and others.

Then, check your power and heat source. If you are using gas, make sure you are using the right gas bottle. Typically, propane is the recommended gas for heat guns. Check that the gas bottle is clean and adequately connected to the heat gun. If your heat gun has an electrical cord, make sure it is not caught or tied around any other object and that it will not cause a trip hazard.

Finally, before use, point the shrink gun towards the floor and squeeze the trigger of the shrink gun, to test if it is correctly igniting. Then release the trigger to make sure it is turning off. Test all emergency triggers too: releasing any dead man’s handle on your gun should immediately switch the device off, so make sure this is the case.


During Using of Heat Gun

Man writing a health and safety risk assessment on a clipboard

Firstly, when you are shrink wrapping, only ever direct the heat gun towards the shrink wrap film and the surrounding area. In other words, do not aim the device towards anyone else in the building when operating. Furthermore, do not point the heat gun at any flammable, explosive, or fragile items.

Do not look directly into the burner opening when the shrink gun is connected to the gas bottle. If the gun does ignite, this would be a serious cause of danger. Likewise, always make sure the gas hose and gas bottle are either beside or behind of the operator, and especially not in front of the shrink gun.

When you squeeze the trigger of the shrink gun, make sure to do so slowly and towards a clear area of the floor, before moving up and over the shrink wrap itself. If the gun is already warm, then it is likely that it will ignite easily with a small squeeze of the trigger, so be aware of your actions when using the gun. When the trigger has been depressed, hold it to maintain the flame, and direct the gun towards that which you want to shrink wrap.

When you use the shrink gun over the wrap you are shrinking, be careful that the gas hose, gas bottle, and electrical cord are all away from any obstacles in the vicinity. This way, you avoid knocking anything over and creating a hazard. If you have cleared the area away as part of one of the above steps for preparing for heat gun use, then this risk should be minimal.


After Using Your Heat Gun

Fire blanket attached to a wall

Once you have finished using the shrink gun, or you see that it is not being attended, firstly close off the gun’s heat supply. Then, point the gun towards some clear part of the floor and burn off any excess gas that is still present. Make sure to keep pulling the trigger and let all the gas burn out.

Once you’ve done this, unplug the gun, disassemble any parts that you need to, and put the device away. The gun shouldn’t ever be left primed and unattended, and it should also never be left lying on the floor. Instead, hang the gun on an eyelet or similar item by the rear of the handle, so that you do not have to grab the device by the front to pick it up.

We supply a wide variety of shrink wrap film that can be used in conjunction with a heat gun for smaller companies who are using shrink wrap as a packaging solution. Simply purchase a basic bar sealer to convert our shrink wrap into a bag or hood to place over your product, then use a heat gun to shrink the film over your product. For firms who need to shrink wrap a large amount of products, by contrast, we recommend looking at our range of shrink wrap packaging machines for something that fits your requirements. For more information about our range of options or advice from us on how to apply shrink wrap, get in touch, and we will be happy to be of assistance.