My Hopeful Wager . . .Wanna Make A Bet?

Wanna make a bet…or two?* First bet: I will give you $40 for every pedestal grinder in your shop that is securely anchored to the floor if you give me $5 for every pedestal grinder not securely anchored. Second bet: I will give you $100 for every pedestal grinder in your shop that has all of the following: 1) Rests adjusted to within 1/16 inch of the wheel; 2) All guards and clear spark shields in place; 3) Both wheels dressed and no sign of abuse. In return, you give me $5 for every pedestal grinder in your shop that has not met all of these safety requirements.

Wanna make a bet…or two?* First bet: I will give you $40 for every pedestal grinder in your shop that is securely anchored to the floor if you give me $5 for every pedestal grinder not securely anchored.

Second bet: I will give you $100 for every pedestal grinder in your shop that has all of the following:

1) Rests adjusted to within 1/16 inch of the wheel; 2) All guards and clear spark shields in place; 3) Both wheels dressed and no sign of abuse. In return, you give me $5 for every pedestal grinder in your shop that has not met all of these safety requirements.

Pedestal grinders are an essential piece of equipment to the precision machined products industry. If you are running cam-type, automatic, multi-spindle or single-spindle bar machines; or CNC Swiss, turning or machining centers, there is a pedestal grinder or two in your shop. Despite being essential to the ability to prepare, adjust and correct tools, these grinders are generally among the last to get any attention from management or maintenance.

I am making these wagers based on experience gained over the past year during numerous shop visits across the country. Even in shops with more than one pedestal grinder, I usually find that none of them are anchored or bolted to the floor. The OSHA requirement (1910.212(b)) states: "Machines designed for a fixed location shall be securely anchored to prevent walking or moving."

The bolt holes on that pedestal base are proof that they are designed for a fixed location. I am making this wager because I know that in the urgency to get the production out, the pedestal grinder doesn't usually make the radar screen.

I am secure in making these wagers because I know that machine guarding was the seventh most frequent section violated in OSHA inspections in fiscal year 2004, when there were 3,245 violations. Failure to anchor fixed machinery is one of the top five sections cited by OSHA inspectors.

That second bet is a sucker's bet because failure to provide machine guarding (those Plexiglas guards that were removed so operators could see better) is the number one violation found in this section. In addition, failure to guard the point of operation and failure to affix guards are in the top five sections cited for violations under the machine-guarding rule.

The tool rest adjustment to within 1/16-inch of the wheel might not be spelled out to the letter under these sections. However, if because of a gap someone gets hurt when the tool or a finger is pulled by the wheel, I will bet that one of the citation's findings will be: "It shall be so designed and constructed as to prevent the operator from having any part of his body in the danger zone during the operating cycle."

I am hopeful that you will assess your shop's pedestal grinder status right now. I am also hopeful that you will take steps to put grinder compliance on the list of important maintenance tasks that your shop addresses.

I am also hopeful that I am wrong and that your shop is already in full compliance. The next time I visit your shop, I hope you will look me in the eye and, with a knowing smile on your face, be the first to ask, "Wanna make a bet?"

*Actually, I am not prepared to bankroll this wager against an entire industry. However, if you are feeling guilty after you get up from your desk, put on your safety glasses and confirm that I'm right by checking out your shop, you can send your check to the PMPA Educational Foundation. Please write "Wanna Bet?" on the memo line.