This chap ended up with a grinder blade in his head and is lucky to be alive.
What the article does not say is whether he was wearing a face shield, and it also makes no comment on the safety of the tool itself, whether he was wearing other safety equipment such as a face mask and so forth. It certainly doesn’t sound good.
@hellonearthis commented on twitter “I think its more the need of a guard on the 9″ grinder than a face mask. A 9″ grinder would flick a face mask of the head if hit.”
I absolutely agree about the grinder guard, but I would question whether an face shield is not available and also ask why such a big grinder was required. A decent sized face shield attached to a helmet should divert the blade away from the face. Here’s one for sale in the USA – $10.50 each or $8.50 in bulk. The visor flicks up when you don’t need it and has a cam to lock it in place. Price isn’t the issue with safety equipment – usage is.
I dare say this example from safetyglassessusa.com looks a little short for the task, while the open shirt is inviting trouble and he is wearing glasses but not goggles and it appears he has no hearing protection.
Minimum standard equipment on a safety oriented site for grinding is normally a face shield (to protect against face injuries and big chunks), safety goggles (to protect against smaller pieces in the air and a second line of protection), helmet, earmuffs, gloves and so forth.
Indeed @hellonearthis “9″ grinder only cuts 4.5″ A better mask, a full face helmet design. For the grinder to kick back, he was using it upside down.”, agreeing with the helmet/face shield approach. He also points out a very important fact – this accident happened because the tool was not used appropriately – reinforcing that the operator didn’t take the time to make sure the job was safe.
I cringe every time I see people doing tasks without any sort of protection. Indeed the risk of hurting yourself at home is probably higher than at work – because at home people take safety shortcuts, thinking that wearing safety gear is something that work imposes rather than something that is just plain dumb not to do.
It can creep up on you as well – just the other day I saw a woman escape possible eye injury from an angry exploding barbecued chestnut because she was wearing normal glasses. That’s not the sort of accident you can plan for, but kudos must go to the BBQer for making sure that the BBQing process was otherwise conducted safely, and for cordoning off the offending nuts when the incident happened.
So start by wearing safety glasses when there is risk – it’s easy to do, and is the thing that will save you from most harm most easily. These days you can get cool glasses from the likes of Oakley, but a dorky $10 pair will work just as well.
The two dorky options below are cheap and cheerful – the first is $4 odd and the second $10. The third pair is one of a bunch on safetyglasses.com – another US site, and they sell for $5.75 each or $4.25 in bulk. So there is not a lot of difference between cool and uncool – though I daresay not wearing them at all is the least cool option.
I wear a set of glasses when I am working on stuff and even (and/or a visor) sometimes when I am motorcycling off road*.
I went the full hog and purchased a pair of compliant prescription glasses that change shade with the sun. It means that they are comfortable to wear for long periods of time (while they do look very dorky) and that I can keep them on indoors and outside when working in an industrial setting. While motorcycling I actually found that they are better when in the sun than my prescription sunglasses, and when the sun is low they are substantially better as they adjust to the changing conditions.
Glasses are a few bucks at Placemakers and the like – pick some up next time you are shopping and hopefully we won’t have to read about a nasty lawnmower or workshop accident.
*I could wear a motor cross helmet and goggles when riding off road, but I find that the advantages off road are lost on road – they are noisy, less aerodynamic and much more tiring. I should really wear goggles in very dusty conditions – goggles seal against dust whole glasses are open to the air. In reality I just drop back or take a break if there is a vehicle going at my speed just ahead (which is rare as I wouldn’t have caught them if that was the case) or if a vehicle is producing angry clouds of impenetrable dust.