A flex, also known as an angle grinder, is a dangerous machine. The cutting disc of these devices can exceed 10 thousand revolutions per minute, and the motor is supplied to the 220 Volt network. It is normal to ask for caution when using something like this, and we present the safety rules that are required in this regard:
There are several risks you need to protect yourself from when using an angle grinder. We will explain each one below. We include both accident prevention measures and quick response measures in case something happened, but also measures that are meant to protect you when you work for a long time with all kinds of noisy tools, to protect your hearing and sight.
The dangers you face when using a flex
We can mention several types of dangers: first of all, electric shocks, as these devices operate at mains voltage (220 volts), which is often fatal. Secondly, accidental cutting with the blade – the rotating disk can cut the meat and the bone with extreme ease.
The third category of hazards refers to the entry of dust and sparks into the eyes and airways, depending on the type of materials you are working with. A fourth category is hearing loss, over time, meaning bad done after months, possibly years, of constant work with tools that generate loud noise.
Observe the specified disc types
A first indication is not to use discs other than those specified in the user manual of the respective tool. Observe both the usable diameter and the working speeds (speeds), or the type of surface (brush type disc, cutting disc, diamond disc, and so on).
Any deviation from these specifications may compromise the work or may result in accidents at work. Remember: the better you know the tool, the better prepared you will be for any situation. Step number one, after buying an angle grinder, is to read your manual very carefully, from one cover to the other.
Be careful of the wires and the risks of electric shock
To prevent electric shock and fire, it is good to be very careful around electrical cables. The rotating blade can easily cut even thick cables, so it is good that the power cord is placed next to the work table and does not stand in your way. If the wires are very long (like using an extension cord), remove them to the wall.
Work gloves will also be effective in protection against electric shock if you touch a red or damaged wire with your hand. In addition, be careful that there is no risk of liquids spilling into the workspace, as they conduct electricity very easily and increase the chances of electric shock.
Use the disc guard at all times
Disc guards can be detachable, on some models of angle grinder, at a good price , so as to allow work in certain positions, such as narrow spaces. But we recommend that you do not remove them unless absolutely necessary, and then only if there is no danger of reaching the blade with your fingers.
In addition, here too, we strongly recommend the use of special gloves with reinforcement – they can save your fingers in case something happens, but the level of protection provided by them is limited. Note: if the disc is blocked or the motor stops responding, be sure to unplug the flex before moving on to the respective components!
Test the appliance before each use
It is always a good idea to vacuum test the angle grinder before starting work. Check that the controls respond properly and that there is no smoke or suspicious engine noise. If all goes well, you can get to work.
Many people would think that vacuum testing is important only if the device has been unused for a long time, possibly in dust. However, we recommend fixed testing before any use, even if you used the device the day before.
Take measures to protect your hands, eyes and ears
We have established that the use of gloves is important for situations where you touch the wires, or work with your fingers around the blade, but they also help a safer grip, because they have rubberized palms.
The eyes will also need to be protected – use a pair of goggles to prevent dust or sparks from infiltrating the face. Also, the airways can be protected with a nose and mouth mask, which will be changed periodically.
Hearing must be taken care of, because, over time, if it is exposed to loud noise (over 85 decibels), it will be lost. You can opt for either ear plugs or special soundproof headphones. This advice is especially addressed to professionals who work full time around noisy machines and tools.
Be careful with flammable materials and sparks
You should always work carefully if there are cans of flammable liquids, pressure vessels and other objects that can explode or catch fire. We advise you not only to remove them from the path of sparks or open flame, but also to equip all work spaces with a fire extinguisher in good working order, which you can change periodically, according to the instructions of firefighters and ISU.
Keep the tool in a safe place away from children
Safety measures for working with a flex should not be implemented only when using the tool. And when you keep it, you will have to apply some tips. First of all, store it in a place without a lot of dust, and in this regard it is advisable to put it in a box.
Protect it from places where mice and rats have access, as these rodents love to gnaw on electrical cables or plastic cases. In addition, as with other dangerous utensils, be careful that the little ones do not have access to the flex. Therefore, either place it in a high place, or keep it locked, in a chest or in a shed.