Angle Grinder Accidents

Angle Grinder Accidents – How To Prevent Them?

Safety on construction sites is a serious concern. Angle grinders are powerful and highly-effective tools known to be the workhorse of the construction industry. But, can they be used safely? Surprisingly, these tools are hazardous to the workforce too. Here, we’ll be exploring the causes of Angle Grinder Accidents, as well as how to prevent them from happening.

Causes of Angle Grinder Accidents

A few main factors can contribute to angle grinder accidents and injuries. Firstly, the tool itself can be dangerous if not used properly. Angle grinders have a high speed and power, making them capable of inflicting severe damage on anyone nearby. If the operator is not aware of this potential danger, an accident could quickly happen. Below is a list of the main reasons that cause accidents and injuries from an angle grinder.

Angle Grinder Accidents

1. Wheel Guard Positioning

One of the main dangers of an angle grinder is the risk of wheel guard injuries. Angle grinders have a high speed and power, which can cause severe injuries if the wheels are not correctly positioned. If the guard is not in place, debris from the grinding process can easily fly into the operator’s face or eyes, resulting in serious injury or even blindness.

Angle Grinder Accidents

2. Operational Speeds Higher than Recommended

Operating cutting tools at high speed is dangerous and should not be done in a single-handed manner. Doing this could result in severe injuries if the tool has gone off balance, as it may cause severe facial injury or lacerations and eye injury.

3. Angle Grinder Kickback

When the grinder grabs a material, kickback occurs, which results in severe injuries. The tool can thrust back from the operator when it falls off balance, bringing with it debris and cutting equipment into contact with people nearby.

4. Negligence

Lack of proper operator training and no adherence to safety guidelines can lead to accidents with angle grinder users. As mentioned, the tool is quite dangerous if not used properly or stored safely. Therefore, experienced operators should provide proper training.

5. Faulty Design/Manufacturing

Even though every tool is designed for safety, the angle grinder tool has a long history of many accidents due to poor design. For example, the high speed and power produced by an angle grinder can cause injuries when it comes into contact with the operator or nearby objects such as walls and pieces of equipment. These leading causes result in serious injuries during angle grinding.

6. Flying Particles

Operating tools like angle grinders should be done cautiously as particles can fly into the face and eyes of people nearby if not appropriately managed.

Angle Grinder Accidents

7. Sparks

The sparks from the cutting tool cause most angle grinder accidents. These particles can penetrate through protective clothing and into the skin of people nearby, causing injuries and fire such as severe lacerations, burns, or blindness if not handled with extreme caution.

Angle Grinder Accidents

8. Vibration/Impact (falling)

This is a serious accident that results in equipment falling onto other objects within a work area which causes initial injuries to an operator’s hands before the equipment causes severe injuries to the operator’s body as it is falling.

9. Line Failure/Burnout

An angle grinder tool’s line is one main component that provides power for grinding materials such as glass, metal, and other surfaces which require high-speed cutting tools like angle grinders. Due to the overuse of angle grinders, the tool’s power cable may not withstand high abrasive materials such as glass. However, if the angle grinder is used without adequate lubrication on the line, it can cause burnout and damage or permanently destroy the power cable.

10. Tripping Hazard

This is the main reason angle grinder accidents occur. The tool’s cutting attachment can move the operator from walking onto the grinding disk of the machine, causing serious injuries due to a fall and subsequent trauma such as severe lacerations or fractures in legs or arms. It has been found that tripping hazards and power cable burnout causes 80% of angle grinder accidents.

11. Electric Shock

The majority of angle grinders are electric. Thus, mishaps involving portable electrical equipment must be considered. Always inspect the tool before using it, get it tested regularly, and keep cords away from the wheel to avoid conflict.

12. Contact with Projectiles

When grinding material such as metal, concrete, or rubber with an angle grinder, there is a high risk of personal injury when chips and particles are not properly contained in the tool safety guard.

How to Prevent Angle Grinder Accidents & Injuries?

Following tips should be followed to avoid Angle Grinder Accidents and Injuries. 

  1. Remove any combustibles to ensure that they do not serve as a source of fire.
  2. Attach the handle and maintain a firm grip with both hands.
  3. Never use equipment that isn’t in good working order. If it’s broken, notify your immediate superior and disable it.
  4. The dead-man switch should not be activated.
  5. If not properly trained, do not use the equipment.
  6. Wear appropriate PPE (Personal protective equipment).
  7. Unplug the grinder to avoid unauthorized use when not in use.
  8. Clear your work area to prevent other employees from being exposed to the equipment’s risk.
  9. Ensure to inspect the equipment before, during, and after each use. This inspection should include the electrical leads and plugs on the equipment.
  10. Do not remove the equipment guard.

Importance of PPE

When grinding material, angle grinders can create a high risk of personal injury when chips and particles are not adequately contained in the tool safety guard. When grinding metal or concrete, it is important to wear protective equipment, which includes:

  • Leather Work Gloves
  • Eyes Protection
  • Hearing Protection
  • Work Apron,
  • Natural Fiber Clothing with Long Sleeves
  • Respiratory Protection

FAQs

How common are angle grinder accidents?

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Angle Grinder Accidents are common, with 5400 injuries reported each year.

How dangerous are angle grinders?

Angle grinders are potentially hazardous power instruments. Kickbacks can cost you a lot of money. Discs can shatter or disintegrate, resulting in shards stuck in the operator’s eyes or other regions of the body, posing a risk of death.

Can a grinder wheel explode?

Grinder wheels burst when they shatter because the RPMs are high, inflicting significant injury, blindness, and fatality. This is an extremely risky technique since it can result in wheel fracture.

CONCLUSION

Angle grinders are powerful tools that can cause serious injuries if not used correctly. In this article, we’ve outlined some of the most common causes of accidents and injuries from angle grinders, as well as tips on how to prevent them. We also discussed the importance of using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when working with angle grinders. We hope you found this article helpful and interesting.

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