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Manufacturing Safety Matters: Portable Grinders

ppe safety gloves while grinding

Manufacturing Safety Matters: Portable Grinders

Provided by: Three Sixty Safety

Portable Grinders

Portable grinders (e.g., angle grinders, handheld grinders and portable abrasive wheels) are common tools in manufacturing that allow employees to grind, cut, polish and buff materials.

When working with portable grinders, employees need to consider a number of risks. For instance, portable grinders can cause severe lacerations or amputations should an operator come into contact with exposed abrasive wheels. Furthermore, portable grinders can create potentially dangerous sparks, metal fragments and other projectiles as material is cut or polished.

This Safety Matters provides a number of useful tips employees need to consider in order to remain safe as they use portable grinders.

Safety Precautions

Like all power tools, portable grinders present a number of safety concerns—concerns workers can mitigate through the following practices:

  • Wear the proper personal protective equipment. For portable grinders, safety glasses, face shields and heavy leather gloves are recommended. Additionally, depending on the materials you’re working on, respiratory and hearing protection may be needed.
  • Ensure the abrasive wheel is rated for the speed of the grinder. Failing to do so can cause the wheel to break apart and create dangerous projectiles.
  • Inspect the overall condition of the grinder before use. This includes ensuring the electrical cord is in good condition.
  • Examine the abrasive wheel for damage before use. In addition, when using a new disc or wheel, let the grinder get up to speed and run for one minute before grinding, looking for abnormal vibrations.
  • Use portable grinders per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Above all, the portable grinder and wheel you use should be appropriate for the task at hand.
  • Ensure guards are in place before using portable grinders. Never make any modifications to the guard.
  • Follow existing workplace policies, including hot work procedures. This is particularly important, as sparks immitted from portable grinders can create fire hazards. As such, never use portable grinders near combustible materials.
  • Use both hands when using a portable grinder.
  • Ensure that the work material being grinded is properly secured.

For any questions or concerns regarding portable grinders, talk to your supervisor.

This Safety Matters flyer is for general informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical or legal advice. 

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