Also known as a disc grinder, an angle grinder is a handheld power tool that's able to perform grinding and polishing operations. Angle grinders are typically powered by an electric mounted, which is responsible for driving a flattened disc-shaped head. Whether you're planning to use an angle grinder for recreational or commercial purposes, though, you should follow these five essential safety tips to protect against bodily injury.
#1) Go Slow and Steady
Regarding angle grinders, slow and steady wins the race. If an angle grinder turns too fast, it may create pieces of sharp shrapnel that shoot violently into the air. And when this occurs, some of the shrapnel could strike your body, thus causing injury. Start with the low speed setting on your angle grinder and gradually increase it as needed. Just remember to avoid using a speed that's faster than the maximum Rotations Per Minute (RPM) as specified by the manufacturer.
#2) Adjust the Guards
Assuming your angle grinder has guards -- which it should -- it's recommended that you adjust them prior to using the angle grinder. Guards are designed to protect your hands and arms from accidental injury. For maximum protection, though, you'll typically need to adjust them.
#3) Maintain and Service
Of course, you should also maintain and service your angle grinder according to the manufacturer's instructions. Angle grinders are complex tools that require regular work to maintain. You may need to change the oil, for instance, every few months to prevent premature wear and tear. Regardless, you should find and follow the manufacturer's instructions to maintain your angle grinder.
#4) Check for Vibrations
All angle grinders will produce vibrations during use. If your angle grinder produces an excessive amount of vibrations, though, it could be a sign of an underlying mechanical issue. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), workers should not use an angle grinder if it vibrates excessively.
#5) Protect Your Eyes
Don't underestimate the importance of wearing impact-resistant goggles or glasses when using an angle grinder. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over 20,000 work-related eye injuries occur each year in the United States. Angle grinders rely on friction to remove material from workpieces. While effective at deforming and polishing workpieces, though, angle grinders can also project shrapnel, which may strike your eyes if you neglect to wear impact-resistant goggles or glasses.