Many workers have been near an operating portable abrasive saw or grinder without ever realizing their danger. Personal safety can be endangered by several functions of this type of machinery. This includes the power source, blade, wheel, disk failure, or hazard from flying or airborne particles.

Before use, tools, cords, and accessories should be inspected to insure safe operation. The equipment operator should be protected from electrocution by a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) or an assured equipment grounding conductor program. No one should ever be permitted to use an electrical tool in wet or damp areas. Operators of compressed air and hydraulically operated tools should make certain that supply pressure does not exceed the tool manufacturer’s recommendations. Excessive pressure can rupture hoses, damage tools, and increase operating speed beyond safe limits.

Some abrasive saws are gasoline powered and should only be used in well ventilated areas. Operators of gasoline powered equipment should comply with all flammable liquid storage or transportation guidelines, and follow applicable regulations. Here are some blade, wheel, and disk tips worth remembering:

  • Never use an unguarded tool.
  • Never force a blade, wheel, or disk onto a tool.
  • Never use a blade, wheel, or disk that has been dropped or otherwise damaged.
  • Never use excessive tool force.
  • Never stand in front of an operating tool.
  • Never exceed the safe maximum operating speed marked on the blade, wheel, or disk.

Workers should also be aware of the airborne health hazards which can come from abrasives and bonders in blades, wheels, or disks and also from the materials on which the saws and grinders are used. They should be instructed in the use of any personal protective equipment, including face or eye shields and respirators, necessary to protect them from physical or airborne hazards when working with or around portable abrasive saws and grinders.

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The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.

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