“Never have I ever…
…Touched the cutting disc while it was moving.”
Just… don’t touch the thing while it’s spinning. That really should go without saying, but there are a lot of 9½ fingered metalworkers out there who prove that it doesn’t. Those things cut steel. Flesh and bone – even a sturdy work glove – won’t even slow them down.
Most often, this kind of accident happens when the guard on the angle grinder has been removed, or isn’t adequate for the cutting disc being used. Other times it is down to inadequate PPE or simply loosing focus for a few seconds while holding a tool which could take your whole hand off. Don’t be that guy.
…Broken a wheel in the middle of a critical cut.”
For the record, I can’t even claim this one. Wheels break, and sometimes they do so in a way which causes you no end of trouble. However, you can minimise the odds of the disc breaking in a few ways.
Change the discs out before they are completely knackered. Don’t use them above their speed rating. Don’t use them after their ‘best by’ date. Don’t mount them on the wrong kind of tool, ether.
…been injured by splinters or debris coming off the wheel.”
This one is easier to prevent entirely than a broken disc, but is still distressingly common. You’re doing abrasive cutting, and that means you’re sheering off bits and pieces of whatever you’re cutting and shooting them off on a tangent to the disc. You’re also shooting out fragments of the disc itself.
You can see that by all the sparks when you cut metal, but even in the absence of sparks there will be sharp, angry debris flying off the wheel. Wear your PPE and don’t let anything you want to keep nice (like your face) anywhere near the projectiles coming off a spinning cutting disc.
…Suffered a kickback accident.”
These are just nasty. If the angle grinder jams in the cut or suddenly gets a lot more traction than you were expecting, it can throw the whole grinder – whirling disc of death and all – back up into the air or into your actual, personal face. Even if you drop the tool, that just puts it on a collision course with your feet and legs.
Like most cutting disc accidents, these are more common when you are using the wrong disc-tool combination, or when you’re not working at the right speed for the disc, the material or both.
…Got my clothes tangled up in the angle grinder or cutting disc.”
Even when wearing PPE, some types of clothes just don’t belong anywhere near any tool with a rapidly turning cutting or drilling end. Neckties are right out. Baggy sleeves that don’t fit under work gloves too. Even earplugs with the long dangly cords connecting them can get you into trouble with an angle grinder.