Skip to content

Use of hand-held disc grinders

One of our members has recently received the following information on an incident:

A fatality occurred when a worker was using an air-powered disc grinder to cut grooves into cast iron. The disc fractured and a large fragment penetrated the worker’s face shield and hit his face, with fatal consequences.

Several rule-violating factors contributed to this incident:

  • the disc installed was larger than allowed for the grinder tool;
  • the disc guard had been removed;
  • the disc was not designed for this type of cutting;
  • the side handle had been removed;
  • the marked disc speed was 4500rpm, while the grinder tool could make 7600rpm.

The following lessons learned were noted:

  • Never remove guards installed by tool manufacturers;
  • Only use consumables recommended for the tool by the manufacturer;
  • Always check if tools are fit for the purpose before use;
  • Ensure face shields in use are adequately dimensioned for their intended use.

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.