General Angle Grinder Safety

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Angle grinders - Safety and other cautions

See images below for the type of wounds a grinder or rotary wire-brush can inflict (actual club members' photos)

Always wear goggles, best by far is a full-face mask to BS or EU standards. You do not want shards of hot metal in your eyes, equally they can scar your face. That brings me to the secondary points. Recently cut or ground metal gets hot so don't touch these areas until they have cooled. Be very careful with edges now exposed - they are very nasty razor edges and cut skin easily - I sustained two cuts from recently ground razor edges, so be warned, they go very deep!

  • Whenever using the key to change a disc or brush, unplug the grinder, just as using a chuck-key in a drill with it plugged in can be dangerous (i.e. be aware of inadvertant pressing of the trigger when handling!)
  • Before first plugging in, make sure the drill/grinder's trigger is not locked in the 'ON' position.. they really hop about dangerously.
  • Some use cheap grinding discs and most of the time they're OK but goggles (a full face mask is best) are good protection just in case one breaks up on you [Anon]

?But high quality thin 1mm cutting discs (named e.g. Kronberg, Hilti etc) can now be bought for about £1 a piece and are one of the best things to come along for DIY bodywork in many years. Once cutting don't change the angle or twist, carry on straight or remove and start again at the correct angle (Scribe or mark-up your lines if a long cut). Don't push the speed of cut, its unsafe and waers the disc much faster. [HM]

Heavy leather gloves/gauntlets

  • If you work with the guard off the grinder for better access into difficult areas - you also must wear heavy leather gauntlets Replace the guard straight away! Don't ever use an angle grinder single-handed, and try to work with the side-handle fitted. Don't become nonchalant - even a 100mm angle-grinder can be a dangerous tool. See images (from club members!) below...
  • If you use any kind of wire brush in your grinder - you should also wear leather gloves and always a full mask, even twist-knotting underseal off can throw up hot nasty material, and any rust underneath will fly out red-hot. See images (from club members!) below...
  • Fix the job, don't free-hand with the job in one hand un-clamped! If you drop the angle grinder when running it can chase you around alarmingly - funny? NOT! {HM}
  • Flap-discs - if you jam them accidentally, they can also break-up and the resulting vibration can be horrendous, preventing turn-off.
  • Don't get a cutting disc, grinding disc, flap-disk but especially a twist-knot brush in a potential narrow jamming area - this is possibly the most dangerous situation of all! (Some new expensive grinders have overload clutches because of this danger)

Ideally have a switchable power supply nearby, not just a plug in a socket.

  • Try not to need to use a 9" (225mm) grinder at all!
  • Don't work bare chested, cover arms neck and body with good thick clothing, even in summer.
  • Make sure the grinder's on/off switch works reliably and preferably have a mate nearby - in case you need help. Working alone be extra careful.
  • Once you are well protected you can work better, get closer to the job and have better control and accuracy, as well as being a lot more efficient with say, a twist-knot brush.

NB. Angle grinding and cutting sparks can do a lot of damage to glass windows. Tape a cardboard sheet over any vehicle windows that might be in the line of fire... this can and does scar glass permanently!

Grinder wounds (from recent club members posts!)

NB. Grinder and rotary wire brush wounds tend not to heal like a cut, because whoel sections of skin/flesh/muscle are 'removed completely'

Grinder-wounds 01.jpg

Grinder-wounds 02.jpg