Hand held angle grinders and cutting discs are a big part of many industries, from welding and metal fabrication to contracting and construction, stone-working and the auto-body trade. They are extremely versatile tools, and can be but to an amazing array of uses. However, this flexibility also makes then extremely dangerous – anything that can cut through a 2cm steel pipe in seconds wouldn’t take long at all to get through a finger! Cutting disc health and safety is vital!
So, we’ve assembled a short list of tips and tricks to working in compliance with health and safety standards for angle grinders and other cutting disk tools.:
Once again, the first step to health and safety with any piece of equipment is to read the manual – not just the safety precautions – covet to cover. Misusing equipment is almost always very dangerous! Follow the manual’s instructions, and if they contradict what you read in this guide, the manual’s instructions take priority. They were written with your specific device in mind.
Always use the wheel guard in its proper position.
Never use the grinder without its guard, and always adjust the guard so that it exposes the least amount of the disc towards you as possible. Most wheel guards can be adjusted without tools to make this process faster and easier.
Always where PPE
Gloves and face or eye protection is the bare minimum, and your device’s manual may require more extensive protections. Heed its advice.
Never use a cutting disc which is larger than the grinder is intended to mount.
For example, never put a 5 inch cutting disc on a ‘4 inch’ angle grinder. Even if it might fit, the grinder may not produce enough torque to run the disc properly, and can be damaged.
Never operate a grinder with a side handle one-handed
These are designed for 2 handed use, to ensure that you have proper control of the tool at all times. Using it with one hand could be deadly if the cutting disc jammed in the cut.
Keep the power cord (if present) well clear of the cutting disc.
The disc could easily sever the angle grinder’s power cord, which would definitely disable the tool and may electrocute the user.
Never set down an angle grinder until it has stopped turning completely.
Many angle grinders lack mechanical or electrical braking devices, and they can continue to spin their discs – and present a danger – for several seconds after turning the power off.
Never attempt to mount or remove a cutting disc unless you have personally ensured that the grinder itself is turned off and unplugged from mains power.
This is the most dangerous time imaginable for the disc to begin spinning unexpectedly! Make sure the device is unplugged, or you could be shopping for highly specialised 9 (or fewer) fingered work gloves.