Skip to content

Injury to Fingers During Grinding Activity

What happened

Someone was performing maintenance activities with a grinder, using the grinder to cut and shape wood.  When he finished, he switched off the grinder and placed on deck. He removed his gloves and then proceeded to pick up the grinder so that it could be unplugged from the wall. When picking up the device, the injured person inadvertently pushed the on-switch and the blade cut two fingers of his right hand. When he then attempted to switch off the grinder he also cut a finger on his left hand. He managed to disconnect the tool from the socket.

He received several stitches in two fingers but was able to return to work on restricted duties.

Grinder equipped with toothed saw blade, no handle and no paddle switch
Showing INCORRECT way in which injured person picked up the grinder

What were the causes

Our member identified the following preliminary causes

  • Poor selection of the proper tool for the job, and the grinder was not compliant with the company’s own standards for such equipment;
  • Not following manufacturer’s instructions – there was a toothed saw blade fitted which was not recommended for use with this grinder;
  • The injured person picked up the grinder in an unsafe way whilst it was still powered;
  • The injured person was not wearing the required PPE  – safety gloves.

Our member took the following actions

  • Removed all button-controlled grinders and replaced with paddle switch grinders with handles as per the company’s existing standards;
  • Reissued good practice guidelines in the use of grinders;
  • Began programme of refresher training on the use of rotating hand tools;
  • Reviewed and update maintenance risk assessment for rotating machinery.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 1 February 2021
Download: IMCA SF 04/21

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.