Grinding Out Best Safety Practices – Part II

//Grinding Out Best Safety Practices – Part II

Grinding Out Best Safety Practices – Part II

Sometimes, a plurality is enough – a majority isn’t needed.

We all want to believe that in voting, the majority will be the winner. But when you have more than two parties involved, more than two candidates, all with their own viable platforms, it’s very difficult to imagine any one of them getting more than 50 percent of the vote.

When it comes to occupational health and safety, however, a plurality is all that can be expected. Why? There are far more than two or three dangerous devices at any worksite. So while there may not be a majority of incidents or injuries coming from any one device, there may be one device that is causing more problems than others and thus probably should rule a safety officer’s attention to mitigate those incidents and injuries.

[Image courtesy of Flickr user KLINGSPOR Schlelftechnologie via a Creative Commons license]

[Image courtesy of Flickr user KLINGSPOR Schlelftechnologie via a Creative Commons license]

Today, we are in part two of an article regarding abrasive wheel grinders, which are prominent in many repair, maintenance and manufacturing sites. These grinders seem to make up a plurality of incidents and injuries in these types of worksites, so this article in the November 2015 issue of Professional Safety magazine was written to provide 10 best practices in enhancing safety around this dangerous equipment. The author is an authority; she has been a workplace auditor for many of these types of worksites, and she has seen through reports and incidents how comon and dangerous these incidents are around these grinder devices.

In an earlier post we covered the first three best practices the author recommended to enhance safety around abrasive wheel grinders. Here, we’rll tackle a handful more practices, then my post on Friday will finish this top-10 list.

#4: Ratings Season.

This is a little bit different than the RPM, or revolutions per minute, of the grinder. The rating shows a maximum speed by which the grinnder can be used safely. If a device is operated above this rating, the wheel may shatter during use, and workers may get injured by shards flying through the air at very high speed.  The problem is, however, that sometimes the rating of a particular wheel cannot be easily determined.

Superviors or safety officers must do due diligence to find the RPM rating for a wheel before installation; it if cannot be determined (found), then it is best not to use the wheel. Once it is known, however, that rating should be prominently displayed  near the machine so all workers are made aware. This is too important to be a secret only for a select few.

#5: A Cabinet Position.

This is something that doesn’t have to be large, but it does need to be near the grinder and have basic safety tools for all those who work the grinder – safety goggles (custom fit for each worker), a fach shield and perhaps some sanitary or disinfecting wipes.

Grinders can produce sparks and will always send particles or fragments airborne. , so workers should always have protection for their faces, eyes and even hands and arms when necessary. OSHA requires safety glasses and face shileds when working aroudn grinders, but you may also need to use respirators, gloves or hearing protection depending on the machine, the environment and the materials with which you are working. Having all of these tools available in some kind of cabinet near the machine will encourage use of these safety tools.

#6: Gauge Clearance.

No, this is not a sale. OSHA requires that work rests have a certain level of clearance from the grinding wheel. This is lsited as 1/8 of an inch. This clearance will help keep loose items (jewelry, a loose shirt sleeve, etc.) from getting caught in the grinder wheel and causing serious injury. It is often tough to measure that clearance accurately with a tape measure, so having a safety gauge handy will help workers determine if the clearance standard is met and allow them to work safely.

#7: Inspect Your Gadget.

The person (or persons) on your workforce who are authorized to install grinder wheels should be the ones to conduct regular monthly inspections of the grinder. But this does not mean just making sure the grinder is operating as it should – this also includes observing workers operating the grinder, ensuring they are operating safely and are in compliance with all safety codes established and understand how the machine works and that all necessary clearances are met. This is also an opportunity for the observer to address any unsafe work practice and to quickly correct it before a problem arises.




2017-05-09T10:22:25+00:00January 19th, 2016|Safety Matters|