Abrasive wheels improperly used can be very dangerous
Grinding and cutting wheels for use on hand-held machines operate at speeds as high as 100m/s which is 360km/hr or 225mph. Accidents involving abrasive wheels can cause serious and sometimes fatal injury.
Why do accidents occur?
The main hazards encountered are:
■ Accidental bodily contact with the rotating wheel
■ Wheel breakage
■ Grinding debris
The main causes of injuries are:
■ Lack of suitable personal protective equipment
■ Lack of suitable machine guarding
■ Poor control of the machine or workpiece
■ Lack of suitable training
How can accidents be prevented?
Abrasive wheel manufacturers who are members of FEPA take great care to ensure that their products are as safe as possible by complying with the European and International standards for abrasives. But wheels are only safe if used correctly and this can only come as a result of proper training. Records show that most accidents involving abrasive wheels are caused by operator error in handling, storing, mounting or use of the wheel.
Until recently there were no nationally recognised standards for trainers in abrasives safety and no guarantee that courses provided were accurate, complete and up-to-date.
FEPA has recently published videos as tutorials to show step-by-step what to look for on an abrasive before using it, how to mount it on a machine, how to use the abrasive and the machine to cut-off or grind, what to wear to protect yourself... Six videos are available on Abrasives Safety website.
The role of FEPA in training
In addition to the comprehensive safety literature available, FEPA and its national association members have begun new initiatives to promote high quality training and to advise end users regarding the selection of suitable training providers.
Who should you contact?
Training shall be first provided by your supplier and the manufacturers. For any request, please contact first your suppliers.
Some national associations have also developed training programs in relationship with training bodies in their countries. These programs have been certified according to FEPA safety requirements and provide the minimum safety recommendations. For any request, please contact the national associations' members of FEPA in your country (see Members menu)
■ In France, ENIM in collaboration with the SNAS has developed training programs tailored to both end users and distributors of abrasive products. A certificate is awarded on completion of the training to certify that your employees have undergone the legally-required training necessary for the safe use of abrasive wheels.
■ In the United Kingdom, TASSIA have provided abrasive safety training courses for over 10 years and specialises in "training the trainer". It was the first company to obtain accreditation from the British Abrasives Federation for their training courses and are the only organization providing BAF accredited courses for trainers and instructors.
Make sure that training companies or bodies are either member of FEPA or certified by FEPA.
Always request FEPA Safety Codes to be supplied with you training.