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Using abrasive wheels: The Browns Ladders guide

Posted on 7th May, 2015 | By Lorretta Tatham

If you work with abrasive wheels it’s important to remain aware of the hazards and risks at all times. Just a slip of concentration and you could find yourself dealing with a serious injury.

As the abrasive wheel rotates at high speed, it can cause injury to its user if the rotating wheel comes into contact with any part of their body. One of the major risks of using abrasive wheels comes as a result of wheel breakage.

In this scenario, pieces of the wheel will fly across the room at high speed (as high as 80 – 100 mph) and can cause severe wounds. Another real risk are the particles that are ejected from the wheel as it works and wears down.

These are usually seen as sparks and can cause damage to bare skin and eyes.

Top tips for safe use of abrasive wheels

1. Use the equipment for the purpose it was designed for

While some wheels were designed for cutting, others were designed to grind and therefore were built were different properties.

Make sure you use the correct type of wheel for the job and that you use the right type of wheel for the machine in question.

2. Inspect equipment before use

Using damaged wheels can pose huge risks and may shatter or break while in use. As with all equipment, carry out a visual inspection before use and only use if you’re confident that the wheels are safe.

It’s also important to make sure the operating speed of the machine doesn’t exceed the speed marked on the wheel as this too can indicate that there may be a problem.

3. Use the correct PPE

One of the best ways to protect your body while using potentially dangerous equipment is to wear the correct PPE.

Gloves, ear defenders and appropriate eye protection should all be worn to minimise the risk of an injury should the wheel break.

4. Be aware of any fire hazards

All combustible materials that are positioned nearby your working space should be removed. Any non-flammable fixtures or fittings that could be damaged by the sparks should also be protected.

5. Make sure you’re comfortable working with the kit

Only use abrasive wheels if you’ve been properly trained to do so.

Always use a machine that’s within your physical capacity to use and if you’re struggling speak to your employer or supervisor.

Maximise workplace safety with our specialised training course

If you work with abrasive wheels, we highly recommend our Abrasive Wheels Training Course.

Suitable for users of the equipment, as well as anyone who fits them or supervises their use, this half-day course will teach you everything you need to know about their safe use.

Featuring both theory and practical elements, you’ll leave with a complete understanding of the control measures required for safe use of abrasive wheels, including the selection and fitting of discs and cutters.

Those in the supervisor role will also learn how to adequately assess whether their work force are using abrasive wheel equipment safely and correct any unsafe practices.

To book on to the course, or to find out more about what it entails, please call us on 01282 615 617 or chat to an advisor online.

Have you ever had an accident while using abrasive wheels? If so, share your story in the comments below or tweet us @BrownsLadders

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