Safety Alert Memo

June 11 2002

The following is a summary of a safety incident that occurred involving a hand held grinder.

ISSUE (S): Hand held grinder guarding and grinder wheel application.

INJURY: Severe laceration of the forearm




         An employee was using a hand held pneumatic grinder to polish a metal table. (Photo # 1)

         The grinding wheel got stuck in a joint of the table and broke off. (Photo # 2)

         The employee was struck and severely lacerated by the broken wheel. (Photo # 3)

         The grinder did not have a guard on it at the time of the injury and no PPE was in use, although PPE may not have prevented this injury.

         Upon investigation it was discovered that the grinding wheel was not the right one for the task being performed.


         Ensure that the correct grinder guards and work rests are in place, used and inspected before each use. The guard for this type of grinder would have a maximum exposure angle of 180 degrees and be located between the operator and the wheel. This would deflect pieces away from the operator

         Provide methods for the inspection of grinding wheels. This includes but is not limited to:

o        Visual inspections for cracks, chips, gouges and other damage.

o        Verifying that the rated wheel speed is greater than that of the grinder.

o        Checking that the grinding wheel hole fits the arbor correctly.

         Ensure that the grinding wheels used are the correct ones for the application.

         Require personal protective equipment when grinding. As a minimum, use safety glasses with side shields and a face shield. Use gloves only when they will not get caught in the grinder. Hearing protection and goggles could be used when the conditions warrant.

NOTE - This was not an NMSU incident. This was provided via email by a safety colleague in Texas.  NMSU employees should contact NMSU EH&S (646-3327) if they have questions (comments) on this matter.