Roger E. Cloutier, Senior Product Safety Engineer
Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Inc.
Wheel guards and face shields, when used together, can prevent facial injuries.
Cutting wheels used on handheld portable tools, such as angle grinders, allow for the quick and efficient cutting of many parts. The utility of this tool and wheel combination has caused an increase in use of small cutting-off wheels. When these wheels are used correctly, they are not only very useful, but safe.
Wheel breakages can occur when operators improperly use cutting-off wheels in very tight areas where the wheel may jam, pinch or bend. Also, attempting to side grind with cutting-off wheels will cause them to break. These misuse applications are also in violation of ANSI and OSHA requirements. The use of a proper wheel guard, eye protection, face shield, gloves, apron, and arm guards can greatly reduce the chance of injury. The combined use of wheel guards, eye protection and face shields can reduce the chance and severity of a face injury.
ALWAYS use the correct wheel guard. It must be adjusted so it is located between the operator and the cutting off wheel.
Below are examples of properly guarded angle grinders.
Wearing a face-shield can offer the end user additional face and eye protection. Below is an example of an operator with the proper personal protective equipment, including a face-shield.
Please note that OSHA and ANSI REQUIRE the use of eye protection with all face shields. Face shields alone do not provide adequate protection and in no case should they be used as a substitute for properly designed primary eye protection (spectacles or goggles) that meet the requirements of ANSI Z87.1. As stated in ANSI Z87.1:
“FACE-SHIELDS ARE SECONDARY PROTECTORS AND SHALL BE USED ONLY WITH PRIMARY PROTECTORS.”
In summary, before using a cut-off wheel on a portable right angle grinder comply with the following:
For additional information on this topic or if you need any other abrasive safety information, please review ANSI, OSHA and all literature provided by the abrasive wheel and machine manufacturer. You may also contact the Saint-Gobain Product Safety Department at Tel. (508) 795-2317 or Fax. (508) 795-5120 or contact your Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Inc. representative with any safety related questions.