Safety Tips for using Abrasive Wheels
Abrasive wheels, or grinding wheels, are a common tool used in many manufacturing industries and operations all around the world. They can be used to perform a number of different manufacturing tasks, from helping with filing, drilling, welding and forging, to providing a useful tool in belt grinding and sand blasting processes. For some operations, an abrasive wheel is essential – but, as with most equipment used in the workplace, there are a number of safety tips that employees should be aware of before handling such equipment.
- Use, store and handle all abrasive wheels carefully. Always check for service limits and any potential damage before use, even the tiniest in cracks or chips could provide a health hazard for you and your employees.
- Check the machine that you are to use the wheel with – is it the correct wheel for that machine? Does it fit correctly and has the work rest been fitted? Check the dimensions of the flanges that are to be used, are they equal? Do also check that your wheel fits the speed specification listed, and that you use blotters provided.
- Every abrasive wheel requires a safety cover – make sure that you ensure one is fitted and in operation once you are sure the correct wheel has been fitted for the machine.
- Ensure that you yourself are equipped with the correct safety equipment and that you wear safety goggles and protective mask at all times during operation – using abrasive wheels is just as much about keeping yourself safe from harm as it is ensuring that the equipment is being used correctly. Do also exercise good dust control while in use.
- Operate the abrasive wheel for a ‘test run’ before you put it to work – this will enable you to warm up your machine without fear of it operating incorrectly. A trial spin of around one minute will satisfy a day’s work, whereas three minutes will satisfy a new wheel altogether. An abrasive wheel needs warming up just as much as a person! They also need to cool down, so ensure that the coolant is shut down before the wheel rotation.
- Do not under any circumstances use an abrasive wheel which has been subject to impact or damage, or which fails any form of your initial inspection. It is also important to mount abrasive wheels which do not match the fittings or speed of any machine that you are likely to be using.
- Know your equipment – do not use damaged flanges or the sides of your abrasive wheel – unless you are advised to do so. It’s also important not to adjust the nuts too tightly, and it is crucial that you do not operate the equipment until the protective cover is mounted in place. Getting abrasive wheel training would also improve your knowledge of the equipment.
- Do not touch the abrasive wheel with any part of your body, or apply excessive force during operation. Doing so will not only risk damage to the machine and wheel, but will also potentially harm you.
- Always avoid using an abrasive wheel in locations where explosions or flame ignitions may occur, and be careful not to move a portable wheel or machine while it is still in operation.
- Above all, abrasive wheels should not be changed or tested without the supervision of a trained member of staff. It is also crucial that you do not stand directly in front of a testing wheel – if you have training in how to use such wheels, you will already know this!
UK Industries Training provide comprehensive training modules and accreditations for any employees that are likely to come into contact with or operate an abrasive wheel – and we will be happy to arrange training sessions for any number of your employees on your request. Simply contact us on 0115 880 0188 and we will be happy to arrange further details for you and your employees as soon as possible!