Grinders are one of the most dangerous tools in any workplace. Dangers normally involve small metal particles lodging itself in the operator’s eye. But the most serious injuries are from kick-back, where the angle grinder’s disc is violently thrust back at the operator. Angle grinders are designed for grinding, not cutting and that is why the use of cutting discs for grinders provide a greater risk for injury. Discs can shatter and explode, sending pieces flying in all directions at very high speeds.
Therefore, it is necessary for every workplace to set guidelines for the use of angle grinders. Here are a few things to consider when working with an angle grinder :
Use an angle grinder with grinding discs that are the correct size for the task :
The larger the tool the more difficult it might be to control and the greater the risk of losing control of it and experiencing what was earlier explained as kick-back. Using the incorrect type of disc for the material or the grinder might lead to a shattering disc.
Use a grinder that has an automatic cut-off switch :
The more modern grinders come with cut-off or “deadman” switches as part of the handle which cuts off power to the grinder and stops it as soon as the switch is released. This will prevent the grinder from running in the event of the operator losing control of it.
Check the grinder before use :
Make sure that the handles and the guard are secure and that there are no defects or damage to the disc. Any discs that have been dropped or dampened should be thrown away, since cracked or weakened discs can shatter. The correct flange and locking nut needs to be in place for the type of disc being used. Also check the machine itself for any bodily or electrical damage before you intend to use it.
When an angle grinder is in use, make sure that no flammable chemicals are anywhere close to the grinding area. Wear safety gear like overalls, safety boots, wide vision goggles, safety spectacles or a face shield. Remember to never put down a grinder until the disc stops rotating. But most importantly, angle grinders like all dangerous power tools should be used by trained operators or under trained supervision.