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Over half of accidents involving abrasive wheels are due to the wrong type of wheel being fitted. Wheels should only be fitted by a competent person. Whilst using an abrasive wheel the most dangerous part is changing the wheel if this is done incorrectly wheels can shatter and burst to cause severe injury or in an extreme case, death.
A worker was using a 10,000 RPM angle grinder, while the grinding stone was rated for 6,110 RPM. In addition to these important specification differences, the size of the 6,110 RPM stone was 5 inches, which would not allow the installation of the safety guard. The abrasive wheel broke, a piece of which severed a major artery in the worker's thigh; he did not survive. Could this horrifying, deadly accident have been prevented? Yes.
The abrasive wheel regulations are now part of legislation PUWER (Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998).
It is a legal requirement under The Provision and use of Work Equipment 1998 (PUWER) that all staff who use abrasive wheels receive abrasive wheels training in the safe use of the equipment and changing of abrasive wheels.
Why Train yourself or your staff?
Below is a true account taken from the HSE website.
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) prosecution at a motor company
An employee of a motor company suffered a Hand Arm Vibration injury (HAVS) having used a range of vibrating tools over a 17 year period. The individual was diagnosed with an early stage vibration white finger (VWF) approximately 4 years earlier and despite medical warnings, his body shop workload increased along with his usage of vibrating machines and as a consequence, his condition deteriorated. Within two years he was diagnosed as having HAVS Stage 3 in both hands and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) in both wrists.
Two Improvement Notices had been issued to the company in 2004, neither of which had been contested. A short while before the investigation process commenced the body shop closed. Subsequent tests from the tools used by the employee revealed that the employee’s daily usage had been around double (and often higher) the recommended exposure level set by the HSE.
The investigation led to a successful HSE prosecution. The company was fined £10,000 with costs of £ 28,000. The employee was awarded a large 5 figure settlement at an earlier civil hearing. The case was given significant media coverage.
With the correct training, this could have been avoided.
Provides an outline of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Safety in the use of abrasive wheels HSG17.
Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1998.
The correct use of PPE.
Hazards arising from the use of abrasive wheels.
Markings/identification of an abrasive wheel.
Methods of storing, handling & transporting of abrasive wheels.
Mounting procedures & precautions of abrasive wheels.
Electric and Petrol Machines.
Safe use of the machines and equipment.
Hand Arm Vibration
Noise at work regulations 2005
Management Health and safety 1999
Theory Paper and Practical assessment of fitting a wheel
The instructor will use the equipment supplied by the company. It is the company’s responsibility to ensure the machine is within inspection dates, has the relevant paperwork and is in full working order. The company is to ensure the candidate has the correct PPE which means a minimum grade B goggle or face shield. There should be a suitable area for the theory element of the course to be taught. This is an in house training course but meets all of the relevant standards.