As with all grinders it’s important to follow certain precautions to ensure the health and safety of the operator and those in the nearby vicinity. Given that the most powerful angle grinders and bench grinders are corded it’s important to be aware of a couple of important safety tips specifically around electrical safety.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the simple things you can do to ensure you’re working in a safe manner when using powerful corded grinders.
We also have another article about more general safety tips when using an angle grinder.
1. Make sure your home is fitted with circuit breakers or fuses
Circuit breakers or fuses are important safety features that safeguard an electrical circuit by preventing them from overheating, melting, and causing fires. When the current on a particular circuit exceeds a predetermined threshold, the circuit breaker will trip (Or a fuse with a blow) which shuts off electricity to that circuit. Thereby preventing it from overheating and potentially causing a fire.
Before using any high-powered corded grinders or any high-powered electrical device it’s important to ensure that your home’s circuit breakers or fuses are in working order.
2. Make sure your home is fitted with a safety switch
Many people mistakenly confuse safety switches with circuit breakers. Circuit breakers protect electrical circuits from overheating and melting, which often results in house fires. Safety switches on the other hand are designed to protect occupants of the home from electric shocks and electrocution.
Safety switches work by cutting off electricity to a particular circuit as soon as a leakage is detected. This ensures that if an electrical fault were to occur whilst using an angle grinder it protects you from a nasty or potentially fatal electric shock.
Seeing as though you’ll be holding an angle grinder whilst using it and the ever-present risk of accidentally cutting the power cord whilst operating the grinder, you’ll want to ensure that your home is fitting with a safety switch.
In fact, ensuring your home is fitted with a safety switch is good practice whether you use corded power tools or not. If you notice your home is not fitted with a safety switch, then it’s best to contact a licensed electrician to install these devices.
3. Ensure you’re using the right extension cord
Sometimes you need to use your angle grinder outside, or you want to perform cuts or grinding work outside for better ventilation. Under such circumstances using an extension cord is a must. However, few DIYers stop to check that their extension cords are rated appropriately for the angle grinder or power tool being used.
If extension cords are not suitably rated to the electrical load required to operate the grinder, they can become highly hazardous. Overloading the cord frequently results in overheating. Overheating can occur at the socket, plug, or wires, resulting in the cord melting, which can result in fire.
To prevent this from happening first identify the watt rating of your angle grinder. This should be imprinted somewhere on the grinder. You can also check the owner’s manual of your angle grinder, which should stipulate the watt rating of the power tool.
Once you know your equipment’s watt or power rating, you’ll need to make sure the watt rating of the extension cord is rated to a higher rating than the angle grinder.
4. Ensure you’re using the right power board
Many DIYer’s workshops incorporate multiple stationary power tools, such as bench grinders plugged into power boards. Just like extension cords, the power boards watt rating should be higher than the power tools connected to the power board.
Also, make sure the power board you use has overload protection. This little device causes the power board to switch off if the electrical loads become too much for the power board to handle. This nifty little safety feature prevents overheating and melting of chords, wires, and sockets.
5. Do not use multiple power tools simultaneously
Trying to run multiple high-powered corded power tools simultaneously can cause electrical circuits to overheat. If your home is fitted with fuses or circuit breakers, you’ll notice that they trip if you run multiple power tools at the same time. To prevent this from occurring and to reduce the electrical load on your home’s circuits limit the number of corded power tools you use to just one at a time.
6. Check the power cord before using your grinder
Perform a visual assessment of the tools before using them to ensure that they are in proper operating order. It is essential to check the cords for any problems.
Do a visual inspection of the power cable for cracks, fraying, and other symptoms of wear and any problems with the insulation of the cord.
If your power tools are stored away and not used very often, or are stored in a garage, the cords may have been exposed to rodents that chew through the cord, or a leaking ceiling leading to moisture affecting your power tools and cords. It is always a good idea to visually inspect the equipment before you use it, test it first in a controlled environment, wear your PPE and be aware of your working environment at all times, especially if you are working with other people.
Stay safe when using corded grinders
Angle grinders and bench grinders are a versatile and important tool for the DIYer to have in their arsenal of power tools. As with all electrical equipment, it’s important to follow certain safety protocols to ensure the health and safety of the operator, and those around them.
Following the simple tips above will help minimise the likelihood of any electrical faults causing damage to your property, your equipment, or harm to you and the occupants of your home or workplace. If in doubt, it’s best to consult professional advice from a licensed electrician.