An angle grinder features a heavy-duty abrasive cutting disc that is powerful enough to cut steel, concrete, and other hard materials. Powered by electricity, compressed air, or a gas-powered motor, these hard-wearing tools demand that every safety precaution is followed to help prevent injury.
1. Know Your Equipment
One of the key factors of safety when it comes to using workshop equipment is knowing what a particular tool is used for. This way, you are unlikely to have any serious accidents caused by the misuse of the tool. An angle grinder is a versatile tool that can be used to work on a wide range of hard materials, such as steel, concrete, asphalt, or ceramics.
2. Use the Correct Disc Correctly
Always make sure you use the correct angle grinder disc for a given job. Discs are designed for different tasks and because of this, they are made from a range of materials. This is one of the reasons that they make angle grinders such versatile pieces of equipment.
However, the diversity also represents a range of potential hazards that the operator must be aware of. Discs feature different levels of grit or hardness. It is important to follow the instructions that are specific to each cutting disc. It is also important to be aware of any further hazards that may be applicable depending on the materials you are cutting. For example, it is essential that water is used as a lubricant if the disc is cutting ceramic tiles.
3. Safety Precautions and Clothing
Angle grinders can be very dangerous if they are misused or if safety precautions aren’t followed. Angle grinders can throw up debris when cutting materials, so it’s important to protect your eyes by wearing goggles or a protective face shield. Heavy duty gloves are a good idea when you’re cutting metal if you want to avoid swarf making contact with your hands. Depending on the materials you are working with, you may also find it necessary to wear ear protection and a dust mask.
4. Correct Operation
Your angle grinder is fitted with a side handle. For maximum safety and ease of operation, ensure that you always use the side handle to establish maximum control when grinding. Also, make sure that the wheel or disc guard is securely in place when you are using the tool. The guard is transparent, so you will still be able to observe the progress the cutter is making. Don't be tempted to leave the guard off.
Never use a cutting disc without first examining it properly. If disks are cracked, they need to be thrown away since they are extremely dangerous to use.
5. Using an Angle Grinder for the First Time
There’s a first time for everything and if you’ve never used an angle grinder before, it’s worth starting off with small tasks and working your way up to bigger projects. Being over-ambitious when it comes to using heavy duty tools can often result in accidents. Build up your confidence by using the tool to cut small pieces of material until you become more familiar with it.