Abrasive Wheels - Use of Bench and Pedestal Grinders

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What safety procedures should you follow when using bench and pedestal grinders?

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  • An operator must be fully trained and instructed in the safe use, care, and protection from abrasive wheels before use. 
  • Fasten the pedestal and bench grinders on a solid surface securely.
  • Ensure all the guards are in place and secure before using a grinder.
  • Adjust tool rests to within 3 mm (1/8 in.) of wheels. Never adjust rests while the wheels are moving. Work rest height should be on a horizontal centre line of the machine spindle.
  • Maintain 6 mm (1/4 in.) wheel exposure with a tongue guard or a movable guard.
  • Check that the wheels have blotters on each side.
  • Check the wheel fits properly to the spindle when mounting. If it is loose, get another wheel.
  • Tighten the nuts before you turn the grinder on.
  • Before you plug in the grinder, manually spin the wheel to make sure it is spinning freely.
Safety procedures to follow when using bench and pedestal grinders
  • Make sure the cables are not damaged and in good condition.
  • Keep the cables out of the work area.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment:
    • eye, ear and face protection,
    • metatarsal safety boots, where required, and
    • respiratory protection may be required, depending on the work.
  • Wear gloves only where necessary and if there is no risk of entanglement.
  • Make sure all guards are in place. 
  • Inspect the wheel for chips or cracks before using. 
  • Stand to one side of the grinder until the wheel reaches operating speed.
  • Bring work into contact with the grinding wheel slowly and smoothly without bumping.
  • Apply gradual pressure to allow the wheel to warm up evenly. Use only the pressure required to complete a job.
  • Move the work back and forth across the face of the wheel. This movement prevents grooves from forming.
  • Wait for the piece to cool before touching the end. 
  • Wheels are made only for grinding certain items. Do not grind rough forgings on a small precision grinding wheel.
Support dressing tool so you can apply leverage without undue effort
  • Dress wheels regularly. Do frequent, light dressings rather than one heavy dressing.
  • Support dressing tools so you can apply leverage without undue effort. With revolving cutter dressing tools, use the lugs as anchors.
  • Replace worn wheels if you cannot dress it.
  • Ensure the grinder speed does not exceed the operating speed marked on the wheel.
  • Visually inspect wheels for possible damage before mounting.
  • Clean the grinder and area after completing the work. 

What should you avoid when using bench and pedestal grinders?

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  • Do not wear loose clothing or have long, loose hair (it may get caught in the spinning wheel). 
  • Do not plug the grinder in before making sure it and the wheel are stable and secured properly.
  • Do not use a wheel that has been dropped.
  • Do not use a wheel that does not fit properly to the spindle.
  • Do not use excessive force to tighten the nut of the wheel. The force can crack the wheel.
  • Do not adjust a grinder while it is moving. 
  • Do not grind wood, plastics and non-iron metals on ordinary wheels.
  • Do not leave grinding wheels standing in liquids. The liquid can cause balance problems.
  • Do not grind on the side of a regular wheel.
  • Do not hold small pieces by hand. 

  • Fact sheet last revised: 2023-10-31