Abrasives can be very useful tools. From performing large functions such as cutting and grinding to putting the final touches on a project with finishing discs, abrasives can be crucial to some projects. However, if the proper safety procedures aren’t followed, the consequences can be devastating.
Your odds of staying safe while using abrasives will greatly increase if you take all the necessary precautions. The following dos and don’ts are a good start.
✔ Protect Prepare
- Inspect wheels and discs for damage before use.
- Dispose of damaged wheels and discs immediately.
- Discard a hard grinding wheel if dropped, even if no damage is visible.
- Check power tools for misalignment, binding of moving parts, or any damage that could affect performance.
- Use the correct wheel or disc for the job.
- Verify the rated wheel speed is greater than or equal to that of the grinder.
- Securely clamp your material or work piece in place
- Ensure grinding and cut-off wheels are always used with a machine guard in place.
- Use mounting blotters with flanges when supplied with the wheel.
- Only use an arbor nut provided by the manufacturer of the grinder, or an approved replacement.
- Keep both hands on the tool during use.
- Maintain a sturdy stance when grinding or cutting. You should have complete control of yourself and the grinder.
- Use the side handle on a right-angle grinder to improve control.
- Allow a grinder to come up to full speed before applying it to the work piece while keeping the grinder oriented away from yourself and others.
- Make sure the disc is balanced. If the grinder shakes or wobbles, stop and evaluate the issue.
- Maintain good, steady pressure when grinding.
- Store wheels and discs in a dry area and away from extreme temperatures. Product life can be dramatically affected if not stored correctly.
✖ Seriously, Do Not:
- Grind, cut, or polish with one hand while holding the material with the other.
- Force the disc or wheel too much.
- Exceed the manufacturer’s recommended maximum speed.
- Apply side pressure to cut-off wheels.
- Overtighten mounting nuts.
- Reach under or around stock that is being cut or ground.
- Use different sized flanges on cut-off wheels.
- Fail to maintain power tools.
- Cut or grind immediately after changing to a new wheel. Run the tool at full speed – held away from yourself and others – to visually ensure the wheel is running true.
- Use anything besides a grinding wheel dresser to clean loaded grinding wheels.
- Use a disc or wheel that has been dropped. Immediately discard.
These tips are just a start to staying safe while using abrasives. If your job requires the use of abrasives, make sure you're ready for the task at hand by signing you and your team up for a safety seminar: