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Watching last week's forged in fire and something dawned on me, I have never seen an angle grinder on that program with a guard on it. 

Is it the norm in the USA to run 4.5 inch grinders without guards? 

Having seen the mess made by a guy I was working near who was using a unguarded grinder when he slipped and it bit him and having had a few disks explode in my time there is no way I would use one without a guard. 

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 Here in the regulated and industrialized sectors of the US of A, Occupational Safety inspected (OSHA) shops will fire you on the spot for running a grinder without a guard, taped electrical cords, no safety glasses, etc.

However, if you are self-employed, or work an off the books job in 'Murica!, then everything is fair game. There are plenty of websites and memes with photos of folks doing stupid stuff.

One of my biggest problems with training students to go into the welding industry is convincing them that I am serious about safety.

One student who PROUDLY went by the nickname of Cletus had taken out the windshields of two different F150 pickups with his head, because he refused to wear a seatbelt. You just can't reach some folks.

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For what it's worth, there's a program on Public Broadcasting Service called "This Old House" where I can typically catch quite a few OSHA violations per episode.

The most common ones are trenching related.  They never have correct shoring, cut backs, or cave-in protection for workers in trenches.

Episodes featuring landscaping can be a safety violation bonanza, especially if there's any sort of tree trimming. 

I often wonder if there's ever on-site tension with Norm Abrams.  His solo show "New Yankee Workshop" always features a part where he recites a safety message about wearing proper protection and using the tools safely.  It's clearly important to him because he actually works that message into his script in every episode.

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I think it was American Woodshop I was watching that had a disclaimer somewhere saying that the guards are removed to make it easier to see the technique and to never operate a power tool with a guard removed. I'll post the name of the program for sure as they're airing this weekend.

Pnut

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Holy Cow!  I can't believe they weren't turned in to OSHA for doing that.  (And I say that, even knowing how much I hate OSHA!)  The owner of the company should be serving time in prison for that "time bomb"!

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No it's not the norm, but alot of people run without them because they think they get in the way.  At least that's what numerous people have told me, when I ask why they took them off.  I used to not use them, when I was a young fella, but I had a few discs explode and decided I like my fingers too much.  I have yet to run into a situation where the guard gets in the way and I use an angle grinder daily.  

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Indexing guard solves the problem. 

 

Some people just think they are invincible. And some companies still don't care enough about their people to enforce the regs. 

 

PPE and good practices go a long way.

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It must've been 25 years ago, I was watching Bob Villa on a TV show, I don't think it was This Old House but maybe. Anyway, a crew was standing a 2nd. floor wall he'd shown how to use a square to mark the stud locations in the floor plate so they'd be nice and square and a couple other things The crew were being quiet and looking occupied as he talked. After it was nailed he was standing there talking and finally asked if they were ready to stand the wall.

The foreman, lead guy whatever said, "Soon as you're out of the way Bob." He hustle out and the crew stood the wall. As soon as it was upright Bob was right back center stage describing how to brace it when a gust of wind blew it over. A crewman grabbed Bob who was instinctively trying to stop it. 

The closing scene is Bob standing on the edge of the floor looking over the edge while the crew stepped up to look. The lead guy laid his hand on Bob's shoulder as he looks over and says, "That's why we never park next to the building Bob." The camera panned over the edge to show about 20' of framed wall laying on Bob Villa's shiny pristine pickup truck. 

Remember kids, TV and Movies are make believe. Still I believe they should show basic safe practices. Perhaps if IFI were to do a letter or phone drive to improve their standards? Maybe calling OSHA and raising Cain? 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I was recently watching the Lorelei Sims episode of a Craftsman's Legacy and seen Eric Gorges grinding on a blade with an angle grinder and it looked like something I would have gotten grounded for as a kid. He had the tang in the vise and was holding the tip of the blade between his thumb and forefinger while grinding the bevels with a flap disk on an angle grinder. I think people get complacent after time. I've been doing this since you were in diapers , I don't need anyone to tell me how to do my job, is something I heard at the rubber refinery just a few days before the Millman with the longest service lost three fingers in the mill and really got off lucky that it was only his fingers. 

Pnut

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The masons here remove the guards and put 10 inch carbide/diamond blades on their 7" grinders to slice block, very scary looking. They don't believe in respirators either, why waste good beer money on a respirator when you can just pull your tee shirt over your nose?

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I've only got a minuscule 4" r-angle grinder.  But I give it great respect.  I was trying to cut something  a year or so ago and that danged guard was getting in the way.  Loosened it and moved it a bit and tightened it back up.  Made the next portion of the cut a whole lot easier!  Then, once again, the guard was getting in the way.........................repeated the process.  And, later on, the same process.  Then the thought to completely remove it momentarily flashed through my mind..................as did thoughts of shattered blade pieces stuck in my face and fingers.  Left the guard on the grinder and only tightened it to the point it would stay where I left it, but could move it a little bit if I needed to.  It's worked well for me in the configuration ever since.  Oh, and since that day of realization as to what might happen if  the blade shattered, I've started using a full-faced shield.  Don't know why I never did before that, but at least "as we git older-we be smarter"!

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For some strange reason, a lot of folks seem to think that not using safety gear makes them tougher, more manly, etc -- that guards, safety goggles, etc are for sissies. I've known folks whose first action on buying a tool is to remove any and all safety guards, usually accompanied with a sneering "You don't need that [language that is not permitted on a family-friendly forum]!" A lot of those guys ended up dead or maimed.

It's one thing to be willing to face danger when necessary: that's courageous. It's quite another to make things needlessly dangerous: that's just stupid.

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Well, in my personal case, it has nothing to do with tough..................more to do with just plain lazy.  Too much trouble to go get a respirator, full-faced mask, safety glasses, hearing protection or gloves from their respective hiding places in my shop when "I'm just making a quick cut" on something.  I know full well I should wear a respirator when sanding handles of knives on my belt sander and yet, more often than not, I realize half-way through the job I don't have one on......................then I think "oh well, I'll be finished in a minute".  My own laziness.  I know full well it's just a bad habit that has to be replaced with a good one.

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18 hours ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

As soon as we get something idiot proofed, they come up with a new and improved idiot.

That sir has to be in the running gor quote of the month. I will definitely be using it in the future. 

Thanks for all the replies, it's great to see that no guards are not the norm over the pond. 

My worry is people who don't know any better emulating what they see on TV, some things are common sense but unless you know grinding wheels can explode you might not know until its too late. 

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Shoot I picked up several angle grinder guards at the scrapyard---the grinders show up at the fleamarkets minus guards and now I have a couple to retrofit...

I've done things with a Bader belt grinder when young that I will not even MENTION here in case some folks are too immortal and willing to ignore the DON'T DO THIS!

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It is true that the guard gets in the way, and most small angle grinders need you to use a spanner to loosen move and re tighten the guard clamp. The only grinder that offers a solution for that is Milwaukee and that is why I only use 5" milwaukee grinders. I can turn the guard around in different positions by hand. My 9" grinder guard has a quick latch that allows it to be released and turned and fixed again just by hand. Another important feature for a professional or serious hobbyist, is the dead man switch. Most small grinders switch stays on, once you put it in the on position. That equates to running a chainsaw with electrical tape around the throttle trigger. Would you run a chainsaw like that? I only use Milwaukee grinders with rat tail handle and dead man switch on them. 

When keeping the guard on the grinder is as elemental as avoiding touching live wires with your hands, there is another precaution that is dutifully ignored when using an angle grinder, and that is a face shield. I use goggles and face shield every time I use a grinder for any purpose and glad that I do. Not long ago I was cleaning rust off a steel I beam structure and the wire wheel got caught on an edge, caught me off guard and slammed the whole grinder in my face. I still have a face because of the face shield. 

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3 minutes ago, Marc1 said:

The only grinder that offers a solution for that is Milwaukee

I have a DeWalt that has a similar solution: a spring-loaded latch that can be disengaged with one finger to allow the guard to be rotated to a new position.

36 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

I picked up several angle grinder guards at the scrapyard

I kept the guards from a couple of grinders that burned out, so now I have a couple of extras.

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10 minutes ago, JHCC said:

I have a DeWalt that has a similar solution: a spring-loaded latch that can be disengaged with one finger to allow the guard to be rotated to a new position.

True, I had  4.5" DeWalt with such guard. I still find the Milwaukee solution better, all it takes is to grab the guard and rotate even with thick gloves. It slides on a series of small lugs that give you a feeling of "clicks" as you turn. Anything is better than having to find the right spanner. My DeWalt burned a long time ago.

Question: Why is it that you guys use 4.5" grinders instead of 5" ? It is not about the size of the wheel but the size of the motor. Day and night from the one I owned and killed. i still own a small Hitachi 4" with full aluminium body for very light work. The only downside to that one is that it has no handle nor provision for one. It must be 40 years old.

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In my case, it's all about what stuff comes up available on the local secondhand market when I happen to need a grinder! I do have a bigger (7") DeWalt that I use for bigger jobs, but I haven't seen any 5"-ers come up lately.

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