Here are important safety rules and tips you should keep in mind while using an angle grinder. You’re never too experienced about power tools since these are safety hazards in themselves. The most common source of injuries in angle grinders is their discs.
The discs include abrasive discs for grinding and cut-off discs for cutting. The materials that can be grind and cut include metals, tiles, and stones, among others. The most common source of injuries in angle grinders is their discs.
Angle Grinder Safety Tips
Every single safety rule about proper use of an angle grinder starts with its operator. You should only handle a power tool when you have the appropriate training for it. You have to ensure that other users of angle grinders also have it.
Trainees, apprentices, and young workers should always be supervised by more experienced users. The unsafe use of power tools will increase the risks of serious injuries for everybody.
The operators should also show competency in the specific jobs. You can ask them to show said competency, if necessary.
Of course, operators must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when in the workplace. You can have respiratory difficulty from the vapors, dust and debris. You may also be struck by hot sparks and flying debris.
For this reason, you have to wear fire-retardant clothing, safety goggles, and hearing protection. Your feet must also be protected by steel-toe boots.
Choose the Right Angle Grinder for the task
Before starting on the task, you have to choose the right angle grinder for it. You want to avoid issues related to angle control, kickbacks, and pressure.
You can become injured, for example, when the grinder suddenly moves (i.e., kickback). You should also perform a thorough visual inspection of the power tool.
Choose the Appropriate Attachments, Too
You have to ensure that the selected attachment is appropriate for the purpose it will be used for. For example, the abrasive discs should only be used for grinding, not for cutting.
You should also avoid using attachments not designed for angle grinders (e.g., saw blades). Otherwise, the safety risks will increase. The attachments can break and become projectiles, which can hit the workers. The kickbacks may become more frequent resulting in operator injuries.
Ensure the Workplace Is Safe
Even with the proper choice and use of an angle grinder, your risks increase in an unsafe workplace.
- Check that the immediate working area is dry (i.e., free of fluids)
- Remove liquids away from the working area. Electrocution is always a risk when a power tool is used in a wet environment.
- Remove other solid hazards in the working area. Only the work piece and necessary accessories should be within your reach.
Use It Effectively and Efficiently
You have to practice as many times as possible so that you can get the hang of it. Soon enough, your brain and muscles will work in sync (i.e., muscle memory). These tips can also help in your goal of safe, effective and efficient use of an angle grinder.
- Use the angle grinder only when it reaches full speed. When it hasn’t reached speed yet, attachments can break or kickbacks can happen.
- Use the right amount of pressure and angle on the material. The work piece will likely come out as expected for this reason. You can look at the spark flow, listen to the sound, and look at the disc to determine their correctness.
- Never put down an angle grinder when it’s still rotating. Placing a still-running angle grinder on a bench or on the ground is a high safety risk. You’re exposing yourself and others to injuries because of the rotating abrasive disc.
- Position yourself in front of the angle grinder when working. If you’re positioned directly behind it, you will be less able to move away in case of a kickback.
- Check that the attachment’s speed rating is the right level. The attachment’s revolutions per minute should be higher than the angle grinder’s maximum speed. Again, the attachment can break, if its speed rating is lower.
- Use the auxiliary handle on the angle grinder. You have to grip both handles during use for better control. Your hands can make contact with the abrasive disc when your control isn’t at its best.
- Adopt the proper grinder’s stance. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart while your elbows should be locked. You should always maintain a comfortable position and balanced footing.
- Work in your best working zone. This means between your shoulders and knees, where possible. The more comfortable you are, the safer you can be, especially since your reflexes are better.
Safety in using angle grinders is closely tied with work efficiency and effectiveness. When you adopt safe working practices, you can deliver on the desired results. You will also be part of a safer workplace for you and your co-workers.
Safety in the workplace is everybody’s responsibility. Your proper training can mean the difference between life and limb. You may also have to teach others about the best practices in power tool use.