With their high-speed discs, angle grinders are among the machines with an increased risk of injury. According to statistics from the German Statutory Accident Insurance (DGUV), about 12,000 reportable work accidents occur each year when using grinding machines. However, this can be prevented if the correct safety precautions are taken and some important instructions are observed.
Protective equipment and two-hand operation minimize the risk of injury
Dwindling forces, flying sparks and splinters flying around: many dangers can lurk when cutting, grinding and roughing with the angle grinder. With their approx. 12,000 revolutions per minute, cut-off machines have a lot of power and should therefore only be used with appropriate safety precautions. Suitable protective equipment is therefore a top priority before you start cutting metal, stone, concrete or tiles. This includes safety shoes and gloves, safety goggles, ear protection and a dust mask. But the correct handling of the angle grinder is also crucial in order to keep the risk potential as low as possible. Angle grinders should therefore always be held with both hands, even if some models labelled as "one-handed angle grinders" suggest otherwise. This is because the user's strength decreases over time and control over the machine can quickly occur. Holding the workpiece with your hand should therefore be avoided as far as possible, especially to prevent the workpiece and thus the machine from slipping. In addition, the cut-off wheel can become wedged or jammed in the kerf, which can cause the machine to kick back and cause serious injury. Therefore, always clamp the workpiece securely so that you have both hands free to control the machine.
Use of extraction systems and vibration damping
However, working with an angle grinder not only involves the risk of accidents, but can also affect your health in the long term if you do not observe the safety precautions. Grinding produces dust that can put a lot of strain on the lungs. Therefore, you should always make sure that the sanding dust flies away from your body and is removed by suitable extraction systems. In addition, the vibrations generated during grinding have a considerable impact on the musculoskeletal system and can lead to problems such as muscle changes or bone and joint damage. But blood circulation can also be disturbed by regular hand-arm vibrations with the result that blood vessels constrict. In the worst case, the loadable upper limit for vibration activities can already be reached after less than half an hour per day. Modern cut-off machines are therefore designed to minimise vibrations. The air-powered model IWS 125-2 PRO model from Aircraft, for example, has an ergonomically shaped handle with vibration-damping properties as well as a vibration side handle that further reduces the strain on the user. The exhaust air of this tool is also discharged via the handle so that no exhaust air is produced in the working area. A safety switch also prevents the angle grinder from being switched on unintentionally.
The risk of injury and health hazards when working with angle grinders should not be underestimated. With the right safety measures, however, dangers can be reduced to a minimum and you can focus on cutting, grinding and roughing your workpieces without any worries and look forward to precise results. Because when used correctly, angle grinders work exactly like clockwork and are an indispensable aid for deburring, rust removal, finishing weld seams and plastic shaping of workpieces.