how to safely use angle grinders

How To Safely Use Angle Grinders

Posted on 23rd Feb, 2017 | By Lorretta Tatham

Your angle grinder is one of the most powerful – and versatile – tools in your toolbox if you know how to get the best out of it. A common companion of workmen and industrial traders, an angle grinder uses a high-velocity spinning blade for grinding, cutting or removing excess materials. It’s capable of cutting concrete, iron, steel, rebar, brick and metal – just to name a few materials. With power like that, it’s vital to give it the respect it deserves.

Making Your Workspace Safe

ppe gear

The thing that makes the grinder so useful is also the thing that makes it so dangerous, which is why if you’ve got a guard for your grinder blade, it’s imperative to use it. When preparing your workspace, the very first thing to prepare is yourself. Angle grinders produce a lot of dust and sparks, which is why you should be fully equipped with protective clothing including tough gloves, protective boots and face protection, consisting of goggles and a dust mask. Angle grinders often send miniscule pieces of debris flying at incredible rate, and without adequate protection you run the risk of serious injury. You should also make sure that you’re not wearing any loose clothing that could be caught on anything.

Next, de-clutter your working environment and make sure it’s clear of anything combustible that could potentially be ignited by flying sparks. Providing adequate ventilation should also be a priority, as it allows floating dust a passage to move from the room, lessening the risk of respiratory dangers. You should also check the angle grinder itself – especially the wheel. This is a crucial step, as a damaged grinder wheel can cause injury or even death. Always unplug the grinder (or take the battery out) when you’re changing or examining the disc wheel, especially if it’s a new one. In these circumstances, it’s a good idea to run the grinder in a safe space for at least 30 seconds to check you don’t have a defective blade.

Staying Safe When Using The Angle Grinder

angle grinder

When using the angle grinder you should always keep a firm grip on the handles. If you start to slip, turn it off immediately and readjust. Work pieces should also be clamped or secured, rather than held in your hand, as you run the risk of having it torn out of your grip. Don’t push too hard when using the grinder either – it’s a powerful instrument, and is perfectly capable of doing the job without additional strain on itself, and risk of injury to you.

As we’ve mentioned above, flammable substances are a major thing to watch out for when using an angle grinder. Sparks can catch on anything combustible, and that’s including your clothes or skin if they’re not adequately protected. Contact with metal especially can cause a lot of heat to build up, so it’s a good idea to have a sponge and a bucket of water handy so that you can cool the blade between strokes. This will also help lessen the occurrence of sparks in the first place. Our final tip is perhaps the most important one – make sure that the blade is spinning away from you at all times!

At Browns Safety, we offer a variety of safety training courses for access equipment to help you maintain a safe working environment, including the use of power tools – whether this involves casual DIY or is in a professional industry setting. To enquire about our courses – or any other help or advice, you can contact us or call us on 01254 615517.

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