Handheld Grinder Safety
Handheld grinders are very good tools that can be found on construction sites, in tool rooms, in tool-boxes and even in the backs of construction-workers pickup trucks everywhere. If used properly, these tools can be very safe tools to use and can be used for many purposes from grinding down a weld, to cutting a lock when you lose the key. As with any tool though, if we do not take care of it and take care of our grinder discs, something bad can happen. This can range from electrical shock, to cuts by rotating discs to sever injuries when a disc shatters. But these injuries can be avoided if we just simply follow some common sense safety measures when we use handheld grinders.
It is the responsibility of any employee that uses a handheld grinder in the workplace to know and follow the rules of safe grinder usage.
The Work Area:
- Keep the work area clean and well lit.
- Do not operate power tools in explosive atmospheres, such as in the presence of flammable liquids, gases or dust.
- Use work a bench and vise when using a grinder on small work material.
- All power tool plugs must match the outlet.
- Never modify the plug in any way.
- Ensure that the grinder is properly grounded.
- Do not expose any power tool to rain or wet conditions.
- Never abuse the cord; never use the cord for carrying, or by pulling on the cord for unplugging the tool.
- Always keep the cord away from heat, oil, sharp edges, or moving parts.
- Always check that all power cords are properly inspected.
Personal Safety: Operators and Others
- Stop and think; what is the safe way to use a grinder for this task before using a grinder.
- Never use any tool unless you are trained to do so. Has the operator attended abrasive wheel training class?
- Stay alert, operators to watch what they are doing and use common sense when operating a grinder.
- Do not use any power tool while tired or under the influence of medication.
- Use appropriate personal protective equipment; always wear eye protection (safety glasses and face-shield) and leather or Kevlar gloves (cut resistant).
- Prevent unintentional starting, ensure the switch is in the off / position before connecting to power-source.
- Do not overreach, keep proper footing and balance at all times.
- Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry; it may get caught in the grinder.
- When working on scaffolding, rest the grinder on a flat guarded surface. Dropped tools can be dangerous, use tool-ties and lift grinders to heights using a Ginny wheel and rope.
- Use your grinder only for what it was designed to do.
- Operators to always use the correct body position, do not cross arms or rest arms on legs while operating a grinder.
- Operators use the correct hearing protection.
Grinder Use and Care:
- Do not force the grinder; use the correct discs for the task.
- Use the correct size grinder for the task.
- Do not use the grinder if the switch does not operate correctly.
- Disconnect the plug from the power sources before making any guard adjustments or making disc changes.
- Never allow untrained employees to operate a grinder.
- Check the grinder before every use and ensure that there is no misalignment, bending of discs.
- Never spray other employees with grinding sparks, Always use fire blankets or shields to contain sparks.
- Never use a grinder without the handle in place.
- Have damaged grinders repaired by a qualified repair person using only identical replacement parts or properly disposed of.
Grinder Specific Safety Warnings:
- Do not use discs that are not specifically designed and recommended by the tool manufacturer.
- The rated speed of the discs must be at least equal to or higher than the maximum speed marked on the grinder.
- The outside diameter and the thickness of discs must be within the capacity rating of the grinder and must always be guarded.
- Never use damaged discs, always inspect discs before usage.
- Never leave discs in direct sunlight.
- Keep co-workers a safe distance away from the work area.
- Operators to hold the power tool only by the insulated gripping surface and handle.
- Position cords away from spinning discs.
- Never lay grinders down until the disc has come to a complete stop.
It is the responsibility of each management and supervision to ensure that these tools are used safety as intended and that users are informed of the hazards of using a grinder.
Supervision should actively monitor operators to ensure that they are using grinders safely by following these simple rules.
Operators using grinders are responsible to ensure that they follow these rules to ensure their own safety and the safety of others working around them.
If supervision ensures operators follow these simple rules every time they use a grinder, then the chances of an accident and injury will be very low.
What do you to protect workers using handheld grinders?