Bench Grinder Safety Tips

Bench Grinder Safety Tips Tailgate Safety Topic

Practically every maintenance shop, factory, and garage workbench has a bench or pedestal grinder. Today we are going to discuss some bench grinder safety tips. These are powerful and useful tools, but they are also one of the potentially most dangerous tools in the shop if misused. Serious injuries or even death can result from unsafe setup and use of these tools. Grinding wheels that are cracked or have defects can literally explode like a grenade at the high RPMs they spin at.

Bench Grinder Guard Requirements

The guards on your grinder are one of the most important protections the tool gives you. These guards will help contain the fragments of the wheel if it explodes. The will also help prevent you from accidentally contacting the wheel with your hand. These guards can save your life or your hand! Also, guarding violations can result in serious citations and fines from OSHA.

  • The wheel guard enclosure should cover most of the wheel, the spindle, and the wheel mounting hardware. Some of the wheel must be exposed to allow grinding access, but the maximum access space between the horizontal work rest and the top of the wheel guard opening should be no more than 65 degrees of the wheel.
  • The tongue guard attaches to the wheel guard at the top of the wheel opening. It is there to prevent pieces of the wheel from flying at you if the wheel shatters. The tongue guard must be adjusted to within 1/4″ of the wheel. This will need to be adjusted as the wheel shrinks.
  • The tool rest helps support the object you are grinding. It also prevents the object, and your fingers, from being caught by the wheel and drawn into the wheel guard. This will help prevent severe hand injuries. The tool rest must be adjusted to within 1/8″ of the wheel.
  • A transparent face guard should be mounted on a hinge positioned between the user’s face and the grinding wheel. This should be in place whenever the tool is being used and adds additional protection from flying objects.

Safety Rules for Grinders

Guards and other safety devices on their own will not protect you. You must use the tool in a safe manner as you were trained. Following are some safe work practices for using grinders.

  • Personal protective equipment must be used. The required PPE includes safety glasses and a face shield. Both must be used at the same time.
  • DO NOT wear gloves, jewelry, loose clothing, or allow your hair to dangle close to the tool during use.
  • Stand to the side of the grinder when starting it in case the wheel disintegrates when it reaches full speed. Do not use the grinder until the wheel has reached full speed.
  • Most grinding wheels are designed for face use only. The side of the wheel should not be used for grinding unless it is designed for that purpose.
  • The tool and the grinding wheels should be inspected before use. The wheels should be ring tested before they are installed. Ensure all guards are in place and adjusted to their required position.
  • The grinder must be anchored in position before it is used. This will prevent the tool from moving during use.

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