One of the most commonly used pieces of equipment in any shop is the abrasive wheel grinder. These machines are used to remove excess or to shape metal. The grinder may be a bench mounted or on a pedestal and will use a straight wheel. These types of wheels are designed to be used on the periphery only. Some grinders may also be outfitted with wire wheels or buffing wheels.
Here are some valuable safety tips when working with grinders:
Always wear a face shield in addition to eye protection when using abrasive grinders.
- Always wear eye and face protection during grinder use. The grinding operation itself can create chips or metal particles that can embed themselves in your eyes or face.
- Make sure that the rpm of the grinder and the abrasive wheel are compatible. Wheels that turn too fast may come apart or explode during use. The rated rpm of the grinder should be legible and available on the nomenclature.
- Always ring test the abrasive wheel before mounting. This test ensures that there are no cracks or defects that may cause the wheel to explode during use. You gently tap a dry clean wheel with a light nonmetallic tool—perhaps a screwdriver handle for light wheels or a wooden mallet for heavier ones. The tap should produce a clear metallic “ping.” If the sound is more like a dull thud, the wheel is probably cracked and shouldn’t be used.
- Check the distance of the work rest and tongue guard before using the grinder.
- Never wear loose clothing, gloves, dangling jewelry, ties, scarves or hair while operating the grinder. They may become entangled in the equipment during use and cause serious injury.