Pedestal Grinders, OSHA and You

OSHA cited an Ohio company for 15 safety violations and fined that company $159,600 after a pedestal grinder operator was killed.

OSHA cited an Ohio company for 15 safety violations and fined that company $159,600 after a pedestal grinder operator was killed. The abrasive wheel on the grinder had exploded and struck the operator on the head.

In precision machining shops, grinders are essential for tool preparation, adjustment and modification. We have to master our grinding technology in a safe and compliant manner. Among the 15 safety violations, the shop was cited for two pedestal grinder violations: lack of properly adjusted safety guards and lack of properly adjusted work rests.

OSHA placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The company was placed in the program for receiving two willful violations covered under the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations.
 
Pedestal grinders are foundational pieces of equipment in precision machining shops. It is up to us to assure that the potential hazards they can present are controlled. Here are some tips, from my experience, to keep your shop grinders in compliance:
• Don’t allow wheels to get out of dress. 
• Assure that the proper clearance, and no more, exists between properly dressed wheel and front tool rests.
• Assure that all grinders have all guards in place. If guards are missing, LOCK THEM OUT.
• Assure that the grinder is mounted to the floor if the pedestal was designed to be bolted to the floor. If no bolt holes are present, bolting down is not necessary.
 
The safe use of grinders is a key part of our craft. It is up to us to keep the potential hazards grinders can present safely controlled. We do this by insisting on safe grinder practices and inspections to assure guards are in place and properly adjusted. 
 
Grinders are ubiquitous in our shops. Safe conditions and use of grinders have to be ubiquitous, too.