Essential Safety Tips When Using Angle Grinders & Power Tools
An angle grinder is a power tool that can be seen as a common staple in the construction site as skilled workers usually use it for multiple requirements. It’s also an essential tool for people who love DIY projects at home. As its name suggests, an angle grinder can be utilized for grinding as well as cutting, wire brushing, and sanding. However, just like with other power tools, a handheld metal grinder can be dangerous if not properly used or handled. In this article, you will learn the essential safety tips when using angle grinders.
- Implement a Safe Work Environment
Just like with any type of work requiring the use of tools that might cause danger or damage, it is highly critical that the work environment should be safe. As the saying goes, safety first. This should be taken seriously as a fall or a trip can cause serious injuries or even fatality. Angle grinder electric tools are driven by motors and have a cutting disk with sharp characteristics that any person’s flesh has no match for. Ignoring the importance of a safe work environment can cause serious consequences.
If you aim to work with angle grinders while having a safe work environment, make sure that you perform the following:
Clean Your Workspace of Clutter
This might seem to be a general rule but it’s very important when working with angle grinder tools. A trip or a fall is highly possible on a cluttered workspace. Make sure that you clean your area of unwanted materials or equipment. If you achieve a clean workspace, you are less at risk of danger.
Provide Enough Lighting on Your Workspace
When working with angle grinder tools, you would need adequate lighting to properly see what you are grinding or cutting. Having proper lighting can help a lot especially when you are using goggles.
Tripping on cables could be highly dangerous thus it’s essential to place them behind you when using electric metal grinders. When you prepare your workspace, strategize where your cables would run before working on your tasks. You need to have a clear path towards the exit just in case an emergency arises.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
It is common to see sparks, dust, metal particles, and fumes when working with angle grinder tools. You need to make sure that you have adequate ventilation in your workspace. Check your doors and windows to ensure that you have enough air to roam around your area.
Be Wary of Flammable Materials
Flammable materials such as diesel, gasoline, solvents, and gas cylinders should be cleared before you start working and using an electric angle grinder. Upon working, make sure that the sparks must not be directed towards flammable materials as well.
Remove Jewellery or Loose Clothing
Before using an angle grinder, you should be wary of what you are wearing as well. Remove loose clothing, bracelets, and jewellery. You are at risk when you don’t take this safety precaution seriously because these items can get caught up in the grinder disk. Aside from your clothes or jewellery, make sure that you have your hair in check as well. Tie your hair or wear a cap to avoid getting tangled with the angle grinder tools.
Place a Fire Extinguisher Near Your Workspace
A fire extinguisher is essential because it works as a handy firefighting tool that could prevent bigger damage. Whether you are on a construction site or working at home on your DIY project, placing a fire extinguisher near you is very important. This is a basic safety protocol upon hot works.
- Utilize Personal Protective Equipment
PPE or Personal Protective Equipment is a must. This equipment protects your eyes, hands, hearing, feet, and lungs from injury. When you utilize electric metal grinders, you need to have proper PPE in check during the whole time that you would be using the tools.
You need to have proper safety goggles when using angle grinders because sparks and flying particles can cause damage to your eyes. The most advisable protection for your eyes is a full-face shield.
Gloves are must-wears because they protect from fragments, sparks, and waste metal from the disk. Having gloves offers you added protection from wear and tear. Make sure that when you use gloves, they should be on a tight fit with your hands. Baggy gloves would cause more danger.
Upon using electric metal grinders, you will be exposed to the noise of the shredding or the cutting. Wearing earplugs or muffs will help reduce the risk of hearing damage.
Wear safety shoes with steel toe caps. This is critical when handling heavy materials that might get dropped after being cut. Proper footwear also lessens the risk of stepping on sharp objects in your workspace.
When working with angle grinders, dust particles and fumes are pretty common. Thus, it is highly essential to wear a dust mask at all times. You need to protect your lungs from tiny particulate matter. When you get exposed to these for long periods, you are at risk for potential lung disorders.
Overalls help protect your clothes from typical sparks when working with angle grinder tools. If you don’t want your valued t-shirts or pants getting damaged, always wear overalls or even a leather apron before you start using electric metal grinders.
- Check Angle Grinder Condition
Now that you have cleared your workspace and have worn Personal Protective Equipment, the next thing that you should check is the condition of your tools. Give your electric angle grinders a thorough inspection before even planning on using them.
Here are the following components of your angle grinder that need to be checked before even starting.
Flex and Plug
Check first whether the flex is attached securely to the plug and the tool. Having damaged or cracked flexes should be immediately replaced. Exposed cores should be addressed first before even using angle grinder tools.
The angle grinder has a guard that works as a key component that must always be in place. This helps in protecting the user from potential sparks that are thrown backward or upwards. The guard also assists in protecting the face if a grinder falls back. Checking the guard is critical and this should be placed at the proper angle that could provide maximum protection. The guard also helps shield the back of the disk to actually make contact with the user’s hand and potentially cause injury.
Upon inspecting angle grinder tools, one of the most important parts is the side handle. You need to make sure that this is tightly screwed to avoid potential danger.
The ventilation slots should always be kept clear so that the motor won’t overheat.
- Pick the Appropriate Cutting Disk for the Requirement
This is a general rule that anyone should follow. Never use cutting disks that are not for their actual requirement.
Check for Damages on Disk
To ensure safety, you need to check the disk for potential defects. Whether there are missing chunks or whatever type of defect there is, any user of the angle grinder is at risk. Don’t ever use a disk that has damage for it could potentially throw fragments out and consequences may even be fatal.
Cutting Disks are Not for Grinding
The thin quality of cutting disks makes it hard to withstand side pressure. This can result in over-flexing and shattering. If you use the side face of a cutting disk when grinding, this could lead to a potentially dangerous disk explosion. Grinding disks should not be utilized for cutting as well.
Check Flange Nut
It is important to check whether the nut is suitable for the actual disk. This must be tightened properly as well.
Check if Disk is Properly Seated and Tightened Properly
Before you tighten it fully, make sure that the disk is properly seated.
Check ‘Use By Date’
Grinder disks have clear ‘Use By Date’ descriptions. This has been indicated because of moisture and/or aging that could result in the weakening of the disk.
- Utilize the Grinder Properly
If you are unfamiliar with angle grinder tools or any power tool in general, the best step is to initially read the manual that comes with it.
Here are the most basic do’s and don’ts when using angle grinders.
Do Inspect Before Using
Do Keep Both Your Hands on the Grinder All the Time
Do Hold the Grinder Firmly
Don’t Use an Angle Grinder Over Your Head
Don’t Place Yourself Behind and In-Line with the Plane of the Rotating Disk
Don’t Force the Disk When Cutting
Angle grinder tools can be very essential at any construction project but the consequences can be fatal if important safety protocols are not considered. Safety should always come first. Be vigilant and take note of the essential safety tips mentioned above.
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