Working With Abrasive Wheels

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1 Working With Abrasive Wheels Page 1

2 Introduction This Guidance Note is designed to assist users and those responsible for both fitting and using portable & fixed Abrasive Wheels. These are very hazardous by nature, & have the potential to cause harm not only to those people, but to others in the vicinity. The MHSWR call for every employer to carry out a Risk Assessment for hazardous situations at work where specific regulations do not specifically call for such an assessment for exposure to any hazardous work equipment i.e. the assessments must be carried out under MHSWR. Page 2

3 Scope Abrasive Wheels fall within the PUWER definition Work equipment meaning any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work (whether exclusively or not). An Abrasive Wheel is a wheel made of abrasive particles stuck together with various substances. Elements of best practice and legislative requirements for the use associated equipment will be summarized within this guidance. Because of the general risk assessment requirement in PUWER PUWER 98 affects older health & safety legislation about work equipment, & repeals or revokes the remaining legislation about Abrasive Wheels Regulations /535 Page 3

4 Specific Hazards Abrasive wheels are potentially dangerous because of their high speed of rotation with the resultant possibility of break-up under centrifugal stress. For these reasons, only properly trained & nominated people may mount new wheels. A register of people trained in this skill should be maintained. A summary of basic safety instructions is listed below: Isolate the power supply before adjusting or working on an abrasive wheel installation. Check that the speed of the spindle does not exceed that marked on the wheel. Do not mount the wheel a machine for which it is not intended. Brush, clean & examine for any damage a new wheel before mounting. Make sure there is a blotter (a large washer) on each side of the wheel when mounted. When securing a new wheel, ensure that the direction of tightening the flange nuts is opposite to the direction of the rotation of the wheel and that the nuts are just tightened sufficiently to cause the wheel to be driven. Over tightening may cause the wheel to crack. Operators of abrasive wheels must take full and proper account of the safety mechanisms provided, e.g. guards & rests for the work pieces. Serious friction burns, brushed fingers and loss of eyesight are common injuries arising from accidents which happen when people are using abrasive wheels. The main dangers arise from pieces of the wheel or workpiece coming away, workers coming into contact with the wheel and workers trapping their fingers between the wheel and the work rest. Page 4

5 Risk All people responsible for mounting, setting and/or dressing new abrasive wheels. Anyone using a fixed or portable grinding wheel e.g. Disc sander or angle grinder. All persons within reach of rapidly flying particles following disintegration of a wheel. Note: properly fitting eye protection should always be worn to prevent injury due to flying particles. Page 5

6 Equipment & Maintenance Issues All components used with abrasive wheels, including flanges, blotters, washers, bushes and nuts must be appropriate and approved for the kit to which they attach. Abrasive Wheels should be stored on racks or bins, in a cool dry area where they cannot roll or fall over. Fixed machines e.g. Grinders should be stable and securely fastened to the bench. Worn abrasive surfaces the wheels should be replaced for safety purposes not just efficiency. Guarding Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) to protect the whole workplace from emitted contaminants. Personal Protective Equipment will only protect the operator, and in the event of danger will ( fail to danger ) Page 6

7 Training Formal certification courses in all aspects of Abrasive Wheel safety can be organized using external organisations (e.g. ROSPA, EEF; Brandon Tool Hire etc.) Ideally everyone who is responsible for fitting or dressing Abrasive Wheels should attend an external training source; these courses do not carry any national accreditation, and may only provide a certificate of attendance. It is essential that anyone responsible for the management of personnel who handle such items ensures that they receive training. It is up to their discretion and a risk assessment as to the level of this training; Whether their staff that merely uses grinders and cutters should be formally trained, or just receives information cascaded from those who have Page 7

8 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) When using an Abrasive Wheel NB Personal Protective Equipment will only protect the operator, and in the event of damage will Fail to danger 1. PPE is NOT considered a substitute for properly selected mechanical protection i.e. Guarding, Shielding, and LEV. Its use can only be justified where other measures are not found to be practicable. 2. When selecting PPE it is essential to take account of the requirements of both (e.g. grip, & switches not impaired), and the operator (good fit, no increased risk e.g. visibility), and must be capable of offering sufficient protection as to reduce the risk to acceptable levels. Eyes/Face Must comply with the BS EN for protection against High-speed particles, and maybe spectacles, goggles, or face-shield according to the extent of the risk. Respiratory to protect against hazardous dust maybe disposable or with a replaceable filter, but must comply with EN 529:2005 or EN 149. Gloves Must be selected so as to allow sufficient dexterity while still affording the required protection. Page 8

9 References & Acknowledgements. Health & Safety Executive: Safe use of work equipment Approved Code of Practice L22 Simple guide to the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 INDG291 Reprinted 6/04 Page 9

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