An angle grinder is typically used in many different work applications. This hand tool can be used for cutting, grinding, polishing, and blending. The different types of discs used for these processes can pose serious risk to the operator if not used correctly, for example:
- Discs can shatter while in use, causing serious injury.
- Grinding produces excessive noise which can lead to hearing loss.
- Flying metal fragments and debris can create the potential for foreign bodies in the eye.
- Excessive sparks can create a fire risk.
- Contact with a wheel can cause serious lacerations.
- Dropping a portable grinder can injure legs and feet.
- Dusts created during use can cause respiratory problems.
- Contact with oils or metallic dusts can irritate skin.
- Vibration can cause ‘white finger’ injury.
- Electric shock can be fatal.
Some Recommended Preventive Actions:
- Never modify a grinder or remove the guard.
- Discs must be the proper size and have the proper RPM rating.
- Always wear adequate PPE. Including eye and face protection, hand protection, hearing protection, protective footwear and adequate body covering.
- Never put excessive pressure on grinder when in operation and always cut/grind in the same direction as the wheel rotation.
- Always unplug grinders when changing or discs or when not in use.
- Never apply pressure to stop a disc from spinning.
Pre-use inspections should include noting any of the following:
- Correctly fitted guard and handle.
- Worn or damaged disc.
- Safety switch function.
- Damage to electrical lead or plug.
- Disc selection: The disc must be suitable for the material (steel, masonry, etc.), the correct size for the grinder (this includes center hole size), and capable of being used at the grinder’s maximum rpm.
- Flange and flange nuts must suit the disc and be in good condition.
The potential for serious injury, material damage, and other losses from the use of angle grinders is great. Operators must be trained, know the hazards and how to control them.
Work safe. Home safe. Every day.
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