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Accident at Berkeley Forge and Tool


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I just heard that a man was killed at Berkeley Forge and Tool near Gilman and the freeway. There is an industrial district near a bunch of Asian restaurants. The broadcast said that he was struck in the back of the head by a fragment of an industrial grinding wheel. I didn't know that there was a forge shop in Berkeley. Anybody seen this one? Anyway, those wheels are scary.

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I always stress to my guys that 2 of the most dangerous pieces of equip in our workshop are the grinders and the forklift, they are used a lot with not a lot of thought for the ramifications of an accident, they are used by all of the guys working here, and they are common to most industrial workshops. Guys side loading on grinding wheels, using them when they are out of balance, using them with chips missing out of the faces, etc, they just don't seem to realise the danger that they can present. Hopefully this guy has not lost his life in vain, and that it will serve as a reminder to everyone to be safe at work, and I don't just mean by wearing ear, eye and other PPE, we have to take a whole of workshop approach to this. Glasses ear muffs and apron won't save you if you get run over by a forklift or hit in the head by a piece of shattered grinding wheel. My condolences to his family.


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There is something that I don't really understand here. It said that he was hit in the back of the head by the broken wheel.

Does this infer that it occured when the wheel wasn't having metal pressed to it? As in he was turned around to grab a different piece of work and it broke apart.

Back in the 40's my Grandfather was working in an industrial forge shop and while grinding by hand the point of a 2" diameter by 12" long drill bit on a very large grinding wheel, a fellow worker came up behind him and "goosed" him! My Grandpa spun around and smashed the guy in the face with the base of his fist which was holding the drill bit, which sent him to the ground for a few minutes. Fortunatly I have heard of more playing around in the shop then I have seen first hand. I flat out don't allow it around any machines or dangerous equipment, my Grandpa could have easily had that drill thrown through his guts.

I am not saying this is what occured at Berkley Forge.

Maybe we could use this tragic accident to start a movement to replace grinding wheels with belts, belts are dangerous in their own right, but I don't think they are nearly as dangerous as grinding wheels.

Caleb Ramsby

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I got scared quite some time ago about big grinders. When I went to the local abrasive specialty store and bought a couple of replacement wheels, the guy working there told me that people don't buy too much of them any more. They either use angle grinders or belt grinders. So, I got nervous and put my big grinder on craigslist. A fellow came over to buy it, and it took both of us to lift it into his truck. He asked me why I am getting rid of it, and I replied that it was scary. He said that was odd, since the maintenance yard he worked for had just replaced all their wheel grinders with belt grinders. He said it was probably OK, since the grinder had beefy cast iron guards and heavy tools rests that adjusted right up to the wheel. I was glad to get rid of it though, but I still prefer to sharpen drill bits on the little wheel grinder.

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