Machine guarding

Bench-mounted and pedestal grinder safety

Bench-mounted and pedestal grinders – which are equipped with abrasive stones, wire brushes and buffing brushes to sharpen, grind, strip and polish metal – can be found in many industrial settings, according to the FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance of British Columbia. These tools can be dangerous to workers if misused.

The Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia offers the following tips for minimizing the risk of an incident involving either type of grinder:

  • Always install abrasive wheels that are the correct size and speed rating for the grinder.
  • Any vibration of the stone while in operation indicates possible damage.
  • Personal protective equipment, including safety eyewear and a faceshield, should be worn when operating a grinder. Hearing protection also may be required. Gloves should be worn only if using a tool grip of adequate length to keep hands several inches from the face of the stone. Do not wear gloves while holding small pieces or using a wire wheel.
  • Keep long hair tied up, and do not wear loose clothing or loose jewelry when operating a grinder.
  • Inspect the grinder and attachments before each use. Safety shields and outer guards must always be in place and used.
  • Do not stand directly in front of a grinder during startup, in case of wheel failure. Do not begin grinding until the stone has reached full operating speed, and only use the face – never the side – of a wheel to grind metal.