A risk assessments for a pedestal or bench grinder always includes a core set of recognized hazards and requirements. The discussion below describes each hazard, points out the related OSHA requirements, and makes suggestions for remediation.
While the discussion below addresses the most common hazards, a machinery risk assessments should also include an investigation of application-specific hazards.
Recognized Bench Grinder Hazards
Click on any of the hazards below to learn more about the hazard, how it causes injury, and any related industry standards or requirements.
An emergency situation is when a machine operator is unexpectedly exposed to a hazardous condition that needs to be urgently avoided in order to prevent injury, reduce severity of any injuries in progress, and to avoid damage to the workpiece or machinery. Providing easy access to an emergency stopping device (or e-stop) can significantly improve an operators chances of avoiding injury and is required by OSHA for most machinery.
Industrial machines coast and continue to spin long after they have been turned off. This coasting (or "freewheeling") can last for minutes and puts machine operators at risk as they continue to work around the still-operating machinery. Learn More.
Automatic and unintentional restarts happen when power is lost while a machine is operating. The machine then starts itself when power is restored. This is a specialized case of hazardous energy control but one that is not solved with typical lock out tagout procedures. That is why OSHA, ANSI, NFPA, NEC, and CSA all explicitly require means to prevent
the unintentional restarting of machinery. Learn More.
An under-rated, worn, damaged, or clogged grinding wheel can fracture and explode – releasing tremendous amounts of energy in the form of shrapnel. This is a severe hazard and often results in operator fatality, which is why OSHA requires that wheels be inspected regularly. Learn More.
A nip point hazard is created whenever two adjacent parts of machinery move towards each other and have the potential to capture or draw-in foreign objects like body parts, loose clothing, or hair. These hazards are especially problematic because this type of motion tends to grab and pull an operator towards the hazard, thereby increase the severity of any incident. This is why OSHA has specific requirements for tool rests and guards on bench grinders. Learn More.
Contact with a grinding disc can quickly lead to abrasions, lacerations, and amputation. This hazard is especially significant on bench grinders due to how close an operator hands are to the disc during operations like tool sharpening.
Flying chips, sparks, parts of the grinding wheel, and other debris regularly exit bench grinders at high speeds and can cause irritation, burns, respiratory distress, and severe eye injury. This is why OSHA requires shields, eye protection, and sometimes even active dust collection.
Bench Grinder Mitigations & Safeguards
The following safeguards are listed in order of effectiveness, from most effective to lease effective, according to OSHA’s hierarchy of controls.
Need an easy to print cheat sheet that contains all of this information? Check out our printable Bench Grinder Safety Guide.
- Install an interlocked motor brake to stop the wheel quickly after each operation.
- Install accidental restart prevention. [FED/OSHA: 1910.213(b)(3), CAL/OSHA: §2530.43]
- Install an ANSI-compliant emergency stop button. [CAL/OSHA §4001][NFPA 79]
- Ensure side guards must cover the spindle, nut and flange and 75% of the wheel diameter. [FED/OSHA 1910215(a)(2), CAL/OSHA §4237, §3577]
- Ensure tool rest and tongue guard are in place and able to meet spacing requirements. [FED/OSHA 1910.215, CAL/OSHA §3577]
- Securely anchor the bench grinder. In the case of pedestal grinders, this includes anchoring the pedestal to the ground. [FED/OSHA 1910.212(b), CAL/OSHA §3576]
- (if dust is generated) Provide interlocked dust collectors or powered exhausts. [FED/OSHA 1910.94(b)(2), CAL/OSHA §5152]
- Ensure tool rest and tongue guard meet spacing requirements before starting an operation. [FED/OSHA 1910.215, CAL/OSHA §3577]
- Ring test and visually inspect all grinding wheels before they are mounted. [FED/OSHA 1910.215, CAL/OSHA §3580]
- Verify that the maximum RPM rating of each abrasive wheel meets or exceeds the grinder RPM. [FED/OSHA 1910.215(d)(1), CAL/OSHA §3583]
- Use approved lockout/tagout means and procedures for all maintenance activities. [OSHA 1910.147, CAL/OSHA §3314]
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Wear eye protection (goggles or face shield). [FED/OSHA 110.133(a)(1), CAL/OSHA §3380]
- Wear any other PPE appropriate for the task.
An All-In-One Solution
The MAKESafe Power Tool Brake is a plug-and-play braking solution for grinders that also includes anti-restart and emergency stop. All you have to do is plug it in, perform a calibration that takes less than five minutes, and you’ve added multiple machine safeguards to your bench grinder. See a demonstration video and device specifications for more information.
More Information On Bench Grinder Safety
- OSHA’s Partial List of Accidents Involving Grinders
- OSHA’s Checklist for Abrasive Wheel Equipment Grinders
Scope: The information above is intended for standard bench or pedestal grinders under 5HP.