Last updated: April 9, 2019 By Arvin Reynold
Grinding is a challenging and rewarding job, no double about it. While it takes lots of practice to master it, there are several hazards associated with it. Even the expert can’t escape it unless taken good care.
Grinding hazards involves eye-injuries, affected lung, and even the danger of fire! But that only happens ONLY when you don’t care for the safety precautions and you are totally careless.
Common Grinding Hazards
In this article, I will talk about some common grinding hazards that may affect you unless you take safety precautions. Then I will state some reasons why such hazard happens with some cool safety precautions that you should take while grinding.
- Hurting From Bursting The Wheel
This is the major grinding hazard. The wheel may burst during the grinding & cause fatal injuries. I have explained why the wheel may burst later in the article, but the main reason is when the wheel spins more than its recommended rate by the manufacturer.
- Severe Eye-Injuries
It’s common for the dry grinding. Lots of dust, splinters, and abrasives create eye-injuries unless you take preventive measures like wearing the goggles or a welding helmet that has a grinding mode.
- Risk Of Fire
This mainly happens when the grinding involves magnesium alloys. They get accidentally ignited often unless high safety precautions are maintained. When you do any buffing activities, the released textile dust can pose a fire hazard as well.
- Serious Lung Scar
During the unprotected grinding, you may inhale cadmium, nickel, and cobalt. They directly get into your lung. Don’t get me wrong, but these things slow kill people who inhale them.
These things create a scar in the lung and the scar gets bigger day by day. The victim can’t breathe easily and it gets worse day by day. And ultimately the victim dies because of the problem of breathing.
Common Causes Of Grinding Hazards
Now that you know the danger of grinding, it’s time to learn why such hazards happen in the first place. Knowing the cause will make the safety precautions part much easier.
- Selecting The Wrong Wheel
There are different kinds of grinding wheels for different grinding works. There are soft, harder, and cutter wheel out there. Their jobs are pretty different. For high-grade steel, the soft wheel is used to prevent burn or distorting it.
To work with high strength steel, there are harder wheels. To cut steel plate, rode, or steel casing, cutter wheels are used. Using the wrong wheel can cause safety hazards for the grinder as well as it will damage the wheel. The metal being ground an also be wasted.
- Going For The Wrong Speed
The speed varies among various grinding wheels. By regulations, the speed is set to a maximum and all the manufacturers tag the speed. Unless you choose the manufacturer’s recommended speed setting and exceed it, you are in trouble.
- Avoiding The Safety Hood
This is your first line of defense against all the accidents that may happen from the grinding work. Usually, the safety hood comes with the grinder. You should always wear them. Yes, you can avoid using it only if you wear a welding helmet that has a grinding setting.
- Amateur Grinding
If you are a pro, you can stop reading this. But if you are just learning it, you may expose yourself to grinding hazard due to poor grinding even everything is correct. Using the wrong side of the wheel, pressuring too hard, abruptly forcing the grind etc. are some bad grinding techniques.
Apart from the above causes, there are other so many reasons for grinding hazards. But the above 4 reasons are most common. Now, I will talk about how to prevent such hazards and stay safe.
Staying Safe From Grinding Hazards
I will state some grinding safety advice but the most common and most effective advice is staying alert at all time. Now, read the below-mentioned tips carefully.
- Test The Grinder First
Before you start the real grinding work, test the grinder itself and the wheel as well. In an enclosed area, you can test run it to detect any damage to the grinder or to the wheel.
- Wear PPE
Make sure to wear all of your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like the helmet, ear protection, gloves, goggles, aprons etc. before you start the grinding work. Did you get your answer what PPE is required for grinding? I hope so!
Just like the grinder and the wheel, check whether all of your PPE is in good condition. Do not wear loose fitting clothes during the grinding work.
- Set The Right Wheel Speed
Never exceed the maximum RPM that is recommended by the manufacturer. If RPM is not mentioned, never use the wheel. To avoid any hazards, monitor the speed constantly.
- Use Grinding Guard & Check The Wheel
Over time, due to the prolonged usage; crack or damage to the wheel is common. Look out for it. Make sure yours is totally in good condition. Also, wear the grinding wheel guard all the time.
Other Grinding Safety Measures
The following points cover some basic but very important grinding safety measures.
- Avoid using any loose jewelry while grinding.
- Unplug the power cord before you mount or remove the wheel.
- Avoid grinding non-ferrous materials.
- Instead of using your bare hands, use the clamp to hold the small pieces during the grinding.
- Make your workspace free of flammable materials. Keep it clean always.
- When the wheel completely stops running/spinning, only then lay down the grinder.
- Ensure a firm grip on the tool during the entire time of grinding.
- Do sparks from the grinder hurt? Yes! So cover your face. Wear the helmet.
Well done! You have reached the end of the article! It’s great and I believe you have learned some grinding hazards and how to stay safe. Any good stuff should not be hidden, right? So share this article with your colleague and friends.