Almost every maintenance shop has a bench or pedestal grinder. They are most commonly used to shape or sharpen the cutting edges of tools such as chisels or lawn mower blades. These are powerful, useful tools, but they are also potentially dangerous, because users take them for granted. Serious injury and even death can result from improper handling, or during the installation or use of abrasive wheels. Cracked or defective grinding wheels can “explode” when in use.
Secure both pedestal and bench style grinders securely to the floor or workbench to prevent movement during usage. Store grinding wheels carefully on racks in dry places, and visually inspect them for warping, chips, cracks or other damage before installation. Discard used wheels once they are approximately 2/3 worn.
Proper guarding is one of the most important safety requirements. Missing or improperly adjusted guards are common and frequent safety violations. Check the following before using your grinder:
Do not stand directly in front of the grinder during start up, in case the wheel disintegrates as it reaches full speed. Allow the grinder to reach operating speed and then bring the item to be honed slowly and smoothly into contact with the wheel. Gradual application gives the wheel an opportunity to warm up and lessens the chance of breakage due to thermal stress.
Most grinding wheels are designed for face use only. The side of the wheel should not be used for grinding unless it is designed for that purpose.
Wheel disintegration can cause very serious injury due to the high speed of flying particles. Be sure your shop grinder is equipped with the proper safety features.