If there is a worse combination than grinders and gloves, I don’t know what it is, except perhaps for gloves and a drill.
We posted a really cool video on our career blog about making a light saber sword here. But we were shocked to see the guys in the video wearing heavy leather gloves while working with grinders.

Never wear gloves with grinders.  or operate grinders with guards removed.
Never wear gloves with grinders. Or operate grinders with guards removed.

By “grinders,” we mean abrasive belt grinders, bench grinders, pedestal grinders, surface grinders, and also abrasive cutoff machines.
No Gloves!
No Gloves!

Sanders, polishers, and buffers that involve rotating wheels or transversing motion are also included in this classification for the purposes of hazard analysis.
Here are 6 reasons to not wear/not permit the wearing of gloves while working with Grinders or Grinding Machines

  • Amputations
  • General duty of employer to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards
  • Gloves can catch on rotating equipment and pull operators hands into the equipment
  • Rotation of grinding wheels is at high RPM’s
  • Operator cannot get hand out of glove when it catches
  • Equipment horsepower and machine material properties exceed those of the operators flesh

We did a quick calculation and a 12″ grinding wheel and 3600 rpm and arrived at a speed on the periphery of 120 miles per hour.
No time to react.
More info on preventing amputations from OSHA

Tom Andel, Editor over at Penton’s  Material Handling and Logistics blog, raised an interesting paradox the other day.

“Not only is it hard  to recruit people into warehousing,” he says, ” but those who do get hired often exhibit an attitude problem about using personal protective equipment (PPE) like ear plugs or safety glasses. ”

In the U.S. employers provide PPE...

Tom goes on to say “Al Will, who now trains young people in the ways of warehousing…followed up with me afterwards, adding: “It seems as though we’re in a Catch-22. If a company fires workers for PPE non compliance, they can’t readily find replacements.”

Hey Tom, we have the same situation going in Precision Machining and Manufacturing!

Back to Tom’s Post :”That’s why supervisors are sometimes lax in enforcing safety rules. Good material handlers are hard to find. One industry magazine article I read recently advocated a “take no prisoners” approach to safety enforcement:

“The rules are that a careless workman must be discharged and a foreman who keeps a careless operator, even though he be a good workman, lacks the discipline necessary to safely handle materials in a plant.”

“This article spread the blame for safety negligence in a plant across all functions: “the employer, for not having proper and sufficient equipment, the foreman for not properly instructing the workman, and the workman who does not complete his part of a task, as when he removes a barrel head and carelessly leaves nails protruding in the barrel.”

You can read the rest of Tom’s Blog post here.

What do you think? Are you a member of the “take no prisoners” camp? Or are you a member of the “we can even rehabilitate the folks we have to hire- they’re all we can get”  School of Hard Knocks?

There is no doubt that OSHA holds the employer responsible for the safety of  all employees

So how do you solve this paradox?

Guest post  from James Pryor, ASH,Inc.
OSHA is boldly going on a mission to add Musculo Skeletal Disorders (MSD) Column to the OSHA 300 log.

To seek out new ways to enforce

What does this mean to your company?
OSHA has been entertaining a regulatory approach to ergonomic issues since 2001 when Congress rescinded it’s original ergonomic rules (Senate Joint Resolution 6).
Currently, OSHA relies on the General Duty Clause for its enforcement,  which obliges employers to ensure their workplaces are free from recognized hazards.
It is the recognized hazards language that seems a bit broad. If these hazards are recognized, why aren’t they codified? In a form acceptable to, lets say, Congress?
In the absence of actually developing a workable MSD standard, OSHA has a new strategy of making employers specifically track these as a category, thus making them ‘recognizable’ as well as to provide data for future rulemaking and to target for current enforcement.
As shop owners, what can we do to meet our responsibilities to ourselves, our employees, and our requirements under the OSH act?
Here are some points to consider as you deal with this emerging frontier of MSD/ Ergonomic issues at your facility:
1. Listen to your employees-they are your best defense against MSD. Employees are the local expert. Get their commitment and ownership in establishing your shop as a safe shop, free from hazards and unsafe practices. OSHA may penalize employers, but safety is everybodies job. Get your local experts involved! 
2. Engineer out the problem. Our shops are masters of process engineering. If any one can find a way, it is us. We don’t need anyone to beam down to tell us how to do it safer. 


Engineer it out…

3. Most MSD type injuries in precision machine shops may be related to proper lifting. Until someone invents an economical tractor beam technology for us to use in our shops,  here are  a few tips to aid in the reduction of these  types of  injuries:        


  • Size up the load
  • Seek alternatives
  •  Inspect the object to be lifted
  • When lifting remember to Place, Turn and Kneel
  • Always lift with the legs  

 While the nuances of what needs to be posted  on the OSHA 300 log  are still being worked out, now is a great time to revisit your shops slips, falls, and lifting training.