Power tool safety check-up
Portable machines require proper operation, inspection and care
Risk & Compliance
Technology / IIoT
Oil & Gas
industrial power tools
Sponsored article by Fein Canadian Power Tool Company
Portable power tools, such as grinding machines, are used extensively throughout industry. Most are designed to operate at high speeds, requiring the use of cutting wheels and related tooling.
Modern cutting wheels are manufactured under stringent conditions and are thoroughly inspected and tested before shipment. However, they’re not unbreakable and must be given proper care and handling.
Potential injury could result from wheel breakage on a portable grinder, making it vitally important for workers and supervisors to be fully informed of the safety guidelines.
New employees should always be properly trained on portable power tool usage and even seasoned operators can benefit from revisiting these essential safety tips:
• Always use appropriate personal safety equipment—such as eye protection—and ask for help if you’re unsure how to safely and correctly operate equipment.
• Don’t force the tool or use excess pressure, such that the machine slows down noticeably or stalls. A jammed wheel can cause a serious injury or premature damage to the tool.
• Loose clothing, hair and jewelry should be kept away from tools being operated, and work areas and benches should be clean and free of clutter. Idle tools should be stored in a clean, dry environment and kept readily accessible for inspection and maintenance.
• Use the right tool and the wheel to suit it. Never use a tool or attachment for something it isn’t intended or designed for. Don’t force small tools to do the job of a larger, more appropriate tool for the application. Always ensure the wheel used is the proper type for the material and make sure it’s the correct RPM speed rating for the tool.
• Don’t abuse the cord. Never carry the tool by the cord or yank it. Keep the cord away from heat, oil and sharp edges. If the cord gets cut, don’t tape it up. Immediately take it to someone qualified to repair it. Cut cords can cause short circuits, resulting in serious damage to the motor. Use only approved extension cords. Check manufacturer’s recommendations for gauge size and length.
• Secure the work piece. Use clamps or a vice to hold work. It’s safer than using your hands and it allows both hands to be free to properly operate the tool.
• Don’t over reach. Maintain solid footing and balance at all times. This allows for proper handling of the tool and no possibility of dropping or jamming it, which could cause a serious accident.
• Maintain tools with care. Always keep tools clean and properly maintained for better and safer performance. Visually inspect the tool for damage before operating. Inspect tool cords periodically and keep handles dry, clean and free from oil and grease. Report any damage and stop using the tool when it occurs.
• Shut tools off and unplug them when not in use or when changing accessories, wheels or cutters.
• Remove all wrenches and spanners. Get in the habit of checking to see that all keys, spanners and wrenches are removed from the tool before turning it on.
• Don’t over tighten the flanges or collects. Make sure they’re in good working condition with no burred or worn edges. Over tightening can cause premature damage to collets and possible fracturing of the wheel.
• Check for damaged parts. The guard and flanges should be in good working condition and correctly installed. Ensure all moving parts are properly tightened. Anything damaged or improperly installed must be reported and fixed by an authorized repair technician.
• Whenever vibration is detected in the tool, stop using it immediately. The simplest way to detect the cause is to remove the wheel, accessory or bit and turn the tool back on. If the tool continues to vibrate, something is wrong and it should be taken for repair. If there’s no vibration, the problem is the fault of the wheel, accessory or bit. Discontinue use and report it.
Safety has to be a cooperative effort. The manufacturers of the tool and wheel must ensure the product is properly designed and incorporates essential safety features.
For their part, tool operators must store, handle and use both the wheel and the tool in a careful and safe manner. Regular inspection and maintenance is an essential part of any successful safety program.
FEIN has been a world-leading power tool manufacturer for over 140 years. FEIN Canadian Power Tool Company, located in Mississauga, Ont., provides a range of high-quality power tools and accessories. Visit www.fein.ca for more information.
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