Safety with angle grinders

An angle grinder is among the most versatile tools available to both professionals and DIYers.

It’s great for everything from polishing and finishing to cutting and shaping. A cordless angle grinder from a reputable manufacturer could potentially last for decades, if kept in good condition and equipped with an assortment of different attachments.

To operate your angle grinder safely, however, you’ll want to take a few precautions. Many of these stem from experience and good practice; some require a little bit of investment in appropriate equipment.

Wearing protective gear

Angle grinders have the potential to suddenly change direction, potentially coming into contact with your bare skin. When they do this, they can inflict fairly serious injury. There’s also the chance that fragments of the surface you’re cutting may fly up into your face.

We can get around these problems by wearing the right protective equipment. This might mean heavy gloves and eye protection. Make sure that your eye protection forms an appropriate seal, and that it can safely accommodate any eyeglasses you might be wearing. Note that eyeglasses don’t offer complete protection against flying shards.

Clothing you wear should be fairly tight-fitting to reduce the risk of entanglement. This is where a loose garment becomes attached to the grinder. You should also tie up long hair, as this also has the potential to become entangled.

angle grinder

Using proper machinery

Before you start using the grinder, it’s worth running through a few basic safety checks to ensure that it’s in full working order. Take a look at both the power cord and the plug, and then the body of the grinder. Check that the flanges are appropriately tightened – but not so much that the disc cams out. If the device feels hot to the touch after you’ve used it, then it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

You should also inspect the environment around you to ensure that there are no trip hazards or flammable substances present. Angle grinders have the potential to cause sparks, which might lead to a fire or an explosion in the wrong workspace.

Choosing a grinder from a reputable manufacturer will ensure the longevity of the grinder, and that it doesn’t suddenly malfunction and cause a problem. Paying a bargain-basement price will get you a bargain-basement tool – which can be a serious error.

The same applies to the discs that you’re using. If you’re in doubt, check an unfamiliar product in a safe area just to see that it’s reliable. Don’t use products which are incompatible with the grinder – especially not chainsaw attachments. This can be seriously, seriously dangerous.

The way you wield the grinder will also have safety implications. Ensure that you hold it with both hands at all times, and that you’re braced for potential kickback. Don’t apply pressure to the blade – this can cause it to buckle and suddenly snap.