What Safety Features Do Shredders Typically Have?


What Safety Features Do Shredders Typically Have?

Wherever powerful motors and fast-rotating sharp cutters go hand in hand, there will always be safety issues to take into consideration. Whilst office paper shredders might not pose the same sort of risk as something like a chainsaw, they still need to be treated with due respect.

At Leitz, we’ve made sure our paper shredders can be used safely and easily, with clear instructions and intuitive safety features which make for a satisfying shredding experience. Below, we explore the safety features present across our range of paper shredders and best practices to safely use your shredder.

Leitz Paper Shredder Safety Features

When you’re looking for a new shredder for your home office or workplace, you’ll find you have a lot of choice. At Leitz, we have various types of paper shredders, whether you need a heavy duty shredder, small home shredder, cross cut shredder or micro cut shredder. You can find out more about the different types of shredders we provide in our shredder buying guide - but one thing that unites them all is our safety features.

Below are some of the in-built safety features in our Leitz shredders that help to keep you safe.

Auto start

Not to be confused with automatic feed, auto start is a safety feature that’s present in all our paper shredders, including manual paper shredders. The idea is that, instead of the cutters starting to rotate when you press a button, a sensor triggers them into action when sheets are fed into the machine. This means cutters are only in motion when there is material to shred, so they are never moving freely.

Automatic feed

Automatic feed is a mechanism used in an auto feed shredder. It’s designed for high volume shredding and sees large piles of sheets placed directly into the machine. The shredder then automatically feeds the sheets through the shredders.

This is a convenient feature if you have large quantities of shredding to do, but it’s also a useful safety feature. Because the machine feeds the sheets through the shredder itself, it means no one has to stand at the machine while the cutters are moving. This avoids the risk of fingers, ties, jewellery, etc. straying into the shredder and causing an accident.

Auto stop

Auto stop is a multipurpose safety feature that detects when something that shouldn’t be in the shredder enters the cutter mechanism. This could be because there’s too much paper but also when there’s the wrong kind of material, such as jewellery or clothing.

Anti-jam / auto reverse

Anti-jam is a popular feature that’s included across our entire paper shredder range as standard. It’s designed to avoid damage to the machine by automatically reversing the rotation direction of the cutters the moment the mechanism comes up against unusual resistance, such as too much paper.

This means that jams are cleared before they become an issue to the machine mechanisms. It also has the added benefit of being a safe solution to jams, as people don’t have to touch or go near the sharp cutting apparatus to try to clear the paper - the machine will do it for you.

Bin capacity sensor

If a shredder bin is filled past capacity, paper will start to back up into the jaws, putting the motor under more stress as it tries to grind against material in two directions and causing jams. Bin capacity sensors provide a warning when the bin is close to needing emptying. On Leitz Autofeed models, the bin capacity sensor is triggered when the bin is 80% full, so you have plenty of notice to empty the bin before it becomes an issue. On some models, the capacity sensor will block the shredder from working until the bin is emptied.

Thermal safety lock

Because of the heavy load placed on the motors that drive shredder cutters, most paper shredder models have a specified maximum run time after which they need to be left unused for a period to cool down. Using a paper shredder past its maximum run time runs the risk of overheating. A thermal safety lock shuts down the shredder if the motor starts to get too hot and won’t let it turn on again until it has cooled down to the required level to be operational once again.

How to Safely Use a Paper Shredder

Even with our safety features, paper shredders till need to be used carefully. Below are some do’s and don’t to use an office shredder safely.

  • Never reach your hand into the cutter mechanism opening while the machine is switched on. Repairs or unblocking of shredder blades should only be attempted once the machine has been unplugged. Better still, call a qualified service engineer to look at the problem.
  • Keep ties, loose clothing and hair well out of the way. As part of health and safety training for using a paper shredder, people should be advised to tuck neckties into their shirt, roll up loose sleeves, tie back long hair and remove any dangling jewellery that could get caught up in the blades.
  • Only insert materials that the shredder is designed to take. Due to differences in motor power and blade strengths, different models of shredder are capable of shredding different materials. Leitz IQ Protect manual shredders, for example, can comfortably handle regular staples and paperclips as well as paper and cards up to 200gsm in weight, but aren’t designed to shred things like credit cards, CDs, laminate sheets and bound documents, including those with heavy-duty staples. Putting these through the machine will risk damage to the cutters and the motor, increasing the risk of misfeeds, jams and even electrical malfunctions.
  • Stick to manufacturer’s guidelines on run times and load capacities. As mentioned above, paper shredders have specified run times to protect the motors from overheating. Running a shredder past these recommended times can risk serious damage. Similarly, overloading a shredder either by trying to force too much paper into the blades mechanism at once or failing to empty the bin when needed risks jams, damaging the blades and gears, and wearing out the motor. A faulty or underperforming shredder is much more likely to malfunction and cause accidents when people try to fix the issues and keep it running themselves.
  • Use paper shredder oil sheets as advised. Oil sheets lubricate the blades of the shredder, keeping them sharp and clean. This means they stay in pristine condition and working as they should, avoiding the risk of damage or accidents caused by a faulty machine.

Leitz has a range of paper shredders designed to work in your home office or workplace safely and conveniently.

Read more about our paper shredders:

What are the Best Paper Shredders for Home Use?

What is the Best Heavy Duty Shredder for Your Office?

Why Choose a Cross-Cut Shredder?