An Intro to Grinder Safety for those with Welding Technician Training

June 01, 2021

A career in welding requires skilled professionals with an awareness of health and safety practices. Professional welders often work in extreme conditions involving high temperatures, gases and fumes, electrical voltage, and ultraviolet rays. Knowing how to safely operate industry-grade equipment within that environment is an essential skill. 

One of the most common tools in welding is an angle grinder. Grinders are used extensively in the preparation of work to cut, grind, blend, buff, and clean metals. While grinders are a common feature of welding, they still carry a number of safety hazards. That’s why it is important that those in the industry learn how to properly use a grinder in order to minimize the associated risks. If you’re considering joining the welding profession, keep in mind these safety tips when working with a grinder. 

Make Sure to Choose the Right Wheel 

First and foremost, you need to ensure you have selected the right wheel for the material and application. For example, a grinding wheel should never be used to cut, and a cut-off wheel should never be used to grind. Likewise, using the wrong grinder for your chosen material can cause damage to the wheel. If you were to use a wheel meant for steel on aluminum, the wheel could become clogged and break down during the process. Professionals with welding technician training will be able to identify the designated uses of different grinding wheels. 

Know how to use different types of grinders effectively after welding college

It’s also important to pay attention to the revolutions per minute (RPM) of a wheel to ensure you don’t exceed the maximum RPM recommended by the manufacturer. While a wheel may fit on a grinder, it doesn’t mean it’s intended for that grinder. You never want to use a wheel on a grinder with a different RPM rating. It’s a good idea to check the label on both the wheel and the grinder before assembling the two parts. 

Always Use a Wheel Guard

As a professional welder, you’ll likely use a grinder in a variety of ways and over a prolonged period of time. Naturally, grinders are subject to cracks and damages with extensive usage. It’s important to ensure that a grinder is in good condition before using it, and to properly install the wheel guard. 

Wheel guards are used for deflecting sparks and debris away from the operator, and to protect users in the instance that the wheel guard detaches. Grinding wheels are at risk of cracking or breaking, and if this happens, pieces of shrapnel can be sent flying. For that reason, it’s essential to use the proper wheel guard in the correct position at all times. Most guards provide 180-degree coverage, and can easily be adjusted so that the exposed part of the wheel is positioned away from you. 

Use a wheel guard to protect yourself from sparks and debris

Take Care of Your Space After Welding Technician Training

Students in welding classes can expect to take courses in health and safety, where they learn to create a safe work environment and to minimize general hazards in welding. When using an industry grinder, it’s important to take measures to protect your face and body from harmful materials. 

Before starting their work, professionals should wear all of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including safety glasses, a helmet, ear protection, gloves, and aprons. These will protect operators from abrasive particles. It’s important not to wear loose-fitting clothes or jewelry while grinding, and to keep hair away from moving parts. 

By preparing yourself for the workplace and remaining mindful of your surroundings, you will be able to perform your job safely, efficiently, and effectively. 

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