• Published: 2 Mar 2021

Grinder disc fatal injury

Grinder disk image
Grinder disk image

Contributing Factor

  • Communication
  • Complacency
  • Competence
  • Change management
  • Control of work
  • Commitment
  • Culture

Description of Process

Use of angle grinder

Description of Incident

A contractor employee was modifying a road guardrail post using an angle grinder. While testing the grinder, a disc shattered and ejected fragments into his neck, resulting in a fatality.

What Went Wrong?

  • Contractor fabricated the guardrail after adopting an incorrect installation method.
  • Contractor employee was not trained in the proper use of the angle grinder.
  • 9” angle grinder protection guard was removed in order to fit a 14” cutting wheel.
  • Angle grinder was rated for a higher speed which exceeded the specification limits of the disc used.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was not available on site.

Good Practice Guidance

  • Do not modify working tools - this includes the removal of provided guards.
  • Ensure the correct tool for the job is selected and operated in accordance with the manufacturer instructions.
  • Ensure personnel are qualified to perform tasks and maintain proper communication amongst crews.
  • Ensure the correct PPE for the job is identified and provided at site.
  • Exercise your authority to stop the job.

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