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GRINDING WHEEL SAFETY

Just about every plant and shops use a grinder. We see them just about everywhere, and most shop workers will use one at some time or another. Being so common, we take them for granted. But do you know that an average wheel turns at a speed greater than a mile a minute? That's fast—so fast that it can cause people to get hurt.

In a recent accident, a worker mounted a cracked wheel on a grinder. He turned it on without replacing the guard and the centrifugal force of the grinder caused the wheel to explode with the force of a hand grenade. Several pieces struck the worker resulting in injuries to his head, eyes and chest.

Most grinder accidents, even the common ones like particles in the eye or abrasions caused by touching a moving wheel, can be prevented with a little forethought. Some grinder safety tips that you should remember are:

1. If you put on a new wheel, make sure that it is the size, and diameter for the grinder and that its rated speed will not be exceeded.

2. Before you install the wheel, do a "ring test" to be sure the wheel is not cracked. This test is done by holding the wheel by inserting a pencil through the arbor hole, and lightly tapping the wheel along its outer edge with a small object. If it is not cracked, it should have a clear ring; a dull thud indicates the wheel is cracked.

3. Be sure the wheel is mounted securely on the arbor, and always replace the protective guards. The hood that encloses the wheel should be of solid construction. Remember, it must be able to contain the fragments of a wheel broken with a rim speed of approximately 9,000 feet per minute.

4. Adjust the tongue guard to within 1/4" of the abrasive wheel face and the tool rest to within 1/8" of the abrasive wheel face.

5. Always wear eye protection whenever using a grinder. Pieces from the wheel or the piece being worked on can fly up into your eye and cause very serious injuries.

6. Don't wear jewelry or loose clothing when operating the grinder. It only takes a fraction of a second for the wheel to grab things and pull them in toward the wheel.

7. Be sure that illumination around the grinder is suitable for the work being done. Shadows and poor lighting make it that much more easy to injure yourself.

8. Be sure that the grinder is shut off and stopped when you're through with it. Don't create hazards for others.

 

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