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Top Tips for Angle Grinder Safety

Date: 19-12-2018

Angle grinders are some of the most dangerous tools in the workplace, and they cause more injuries than any power tool. Angle grinder safety and training procedures is a priority for any workplace, for the sake of labourers and their families


In 2016, a worker from Queensland died after being struck by a broken 9-inch angle grinder attachment. The incident prompted WorkSafe Queensland to issue a safety alert on the proper use of angle grinders, guards and disc sizes.


Here are some tips for angle grinder safety, and how you can apply them in your workplace.


Before you purchase the angle grinder


Choose the right angle grinder for the job and follow its safety instructions. You must not use a bigger and more powerful grinder than is necessary. Nine-inch grinders bear a higher risk of injury because of its increased power and size.


You also need to consider the safety features that come with the angle grinder, such as an automatic cut-off switch. Also called a dead man’s switch, this mechanism is designed to cut off power as soon as finger pressure is released from the tool. Check for other features, such as adjustable handles for left- and right-handed operators, an anti-kickback clutch, a vibration-reducing handle, and noise-reducing discs.


Ensure that the angle grinder is checked for any damage or safety issues before use. Check if the handle and guard are secured in the correct position and if the power cord is in excellent condition.


Selecting the correct disc


Use the correctly-sized disc for the grinder and make sure that its locking nut is tight. You must also ensure that you will be using the right disc appropriate for the material you will work on. Finally, check if the disc can be used at the grinder’s maximum speed level.


Incorrectly-chosen discs tend to shatter and cause injuries to operators. Cutting discs and multi-cutter blades must never be used on grinders, as they are not designed for this purpose. Grinding discs that are worn, damaged or decreased in size must be replaced immediately.


Operating safety


Always use two hands when using the machine: one to hold its handle, and another to support the grinder. The tool must also be allowed to run up to speed before being applied to the material with minimum pressure so that it doesn’t grab and kick back. While operating the tool, you also need to be careful not to let the grinder bump against anything.


Utilising PPE


Given the dangerous nature of angle grinders, you need to use personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly. Some examples of PPE you need to maximise are face shields. high-impact wraparound eye protection and Class 5 cut-resistant gloves.


Your gloves need to be well-fitted, provide ample dexterity and provide the best possible protection against abrasions, cuts and heat.


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