Will You Survive the ‘Daily Grind’?

Sept. 23, 2010
Did you know that 26 percent of grinder accidents in an 8-year period resulted in fatalities?

Imagine this scenario: A worker steps up to an abrasive wheel grinder and places a piece of metal against the wheel’s spinning surface. But because the machine was not adjusted correctly, the metal catches in the grinder. A split-second later the grinding wheel explodes, sending stony chunks, as deadly as shrapnel, shooting through the shop. The worker drops lifeless to the floor.

Tragic scenarios like that have been known to happen in workplaces across the country. An OSHA examination of 27 grinder wheel accidents in an 8-year period revealed that 26 percent of those accidents resulted in employee deaths.

“Because abrasive wheel grinders are everyday equipment in workplaces nationwide, many workers become complacent about their hazards,” said Benjamin W. Mangan, founder and president of MANCOMM, a company that develops and publishes regulatory compliance products. “Improper use of a grinding wheel, or the use of one that is defective or damaged, can cause the wheel to break up. And those flying fragments can be deadly.”

To help America’s workers stay safe, MANCOMM developed and released the Grinder Safety Training CD. This CD can help workers to improve safety and minimize risk by focusing on a personal protection system for pedestal and bench grinders. Topics covered include personal protective equipment, grinder and grinding wheel RPM compatibility, ring tests, grinding wheel installation, guard adjustment, and aluminum oxide grinding wheels.

The Grinder Safety Training CD is the first release in MANCOMM’s new Safety Interactive Training Experience (SITE) product line. SITE products use multimedia presentations, which actively engage trainees in user-based interactions.

A Grinder Safety Awareness Quiz

How familiar are you with abrasive wheel grinders and their safe operation? Take this quiz and find out. These questions were derived from the audio portion of the MANCOMM Grinder Safety Training CD.

This print quiz offers an answer selection for each question. The skill checks on the actual Grinder Safety Training CD are not “multiple guess,” but multimedia demonstrations. Once the employee passes the CD’s interactive skill checks, you will know they can operate a pedestal and bench grinder safely.

1. Why should eye protection be used when operating a grinder?
A.) To protect the worker’s eyes from sparks.
B.) To protect the worker’s eyes from flying fragments, if the wheel breaks.
C.) To protect the eyes from ultraviolet rays created by the hot metal.
D.) A and B.

2. Which of these are forms of personal protective equipment you may need while using a grinder?
A.) Eye protection.
B.) Respirator.
C.) Ear plugs.
D.) All of the above.

3. Why shouldn’t you wear jewelry while operating a grinder?
A.) The sparks will tarnish silver or gold.
B.) It could get caught in the equipment.
C.) The fumes will cause gems to become cloudy.
D.) It’s considered bad luck in many workplaces.

4. Why would you want to tap a grinding wheel with the non-metallic handle of a screwdriver?
A.) You would never want to do that. It could hurt the wheel.
B.) If the wheel makes a ringing noise, you will know it is not fit for use.
C.) It’s part of a test to check the usability of the wheel.
D.) Tapping a grinding wheel shakes any impurities out of its pores.

5. When gauging the compatibility between a grinder’s RPM and a grinding wheel’s RPM, remember:
A.) The two numbers must be exactly the same.
B.) The two numbers are not connected.
C.) The RPM of the grinder is always twice that of the grinding wheel.
D.) None of the above.

6. When you need to put a new wheel on your grinder, what should you do with the wheel first?
A.) Nothing. If it’s a new wheel, straight out of its packaging, just put it right on the grinder.
B.) Give it a “ring test” to make sure it is suitable for use.
C.) Prepare it for use by soaking it in water for no less than three minutes.
D.) Roll it across the floor to make sure it is perfectly round.

7. How much of a gap should there be between the work rest and the face of the grinding wheel?
A.) 1/8 inch or less
B.) No less than 1/8 inch
C.) 1/4 inch
D.) 1 inch

8. If your grinder requires repairs, what kind of replacement parts should you use?
A.) Any kind that will fit. Parts for most brands of grinders are interchangeable.
B.) Only manufacturer-recommended replacement parts.
C.) Only parts purchased from the same store as the grinder.
D.) None of the above.

9. The wheel hole diameter and the grinder arbor size are not the same. What can you do to make the wheel workable?
A.) The wheel is not compatible with the grinder. Do not install it.
B.) Go ahead and install it, even if you have to force the wheel onto the spindle.
C.) Screw on the wheel nut especially tight.
D.) B and C.

10. What kind of material can you grind with aluminum oxide grinding wheels?
A.) Only aluminum.
B.) Any type of metal.
C.) Any metal with a yellow, gold or amber hue.
D.) Ferrous or iron-based materials, like iron or steel.

How many wrong answers are permissible? In the workplace: zero. Whenever workers operate an abrasive wheel grinder incorrectly, such incidents raise the possibility of accidents, injuries or death, which in turn can lead to workers’ compensation expenses, raised insurance premiums, lost productivity, lowered employee morale, and OSHA penalties.

“In the workplace, knowledge is power,” Mangan said, “and we want all workers to have the power to work safely and with skilled confidence. A knowledgeable worker is a happy, productive worker.”

For more information, call 1-800-MANCOMM (626-2666) or visit http://www.mancomm.com/.


1. D
2. D
3. B
4. C
5. D
6. B
7. A
8. B
9. A
10. D

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