Always watch your grinder stance for better performance, it will become second nature soon. You can achieve cost-efficient, results-effective work, too! Your productivity and safety levels will also likely increase.
1. Watch Your Grinder Stance
Keeping a good footing is always a must when handling abrasive equipment. You should maintain your center of gravity for better balance, too. You have to be aware of where your body parts are in relation to the belt grinder. This is known as body-space awareness.
With that said, you can adopt the recommended grinder stance, as follows:
Stand with your feet wide apart, about shoulder-width. The wide stance will be more stable and comfortable, too. The main idea here is to keep your balance at all times.
Place the belt grinder at a safe height. The best is at your navel’s height so adjustments should be made. At navel height, you can lock your arms to your sides (i.e., let them “ride” on your hip bones). Lower or higher placement will increase your risks for accidents.
Lock your elbows. You should grind evenly by sliding with your hips instead of your arms. You’re shifting your weight by sliding to the left and right in an even manner.
Hold the tang with your left hand. Use a firm grip so that it doesn’t slide away from your hand. Avoid letting the angle wander or the tang twisting; lock your elbows for this purpose.
Even when you have completed the job dozens of times, you have to always be aware of your stance. You have to be conscious of the task at hand instead of letting your mind wander.
If you’re getting uncomfortable in your stance, you should stop with the grinding. You can shift your position, change the angle, or rest. Your single stance-related mistake can result in unsatisfactory results and/or unsafe working conditions.
If you’re new to a belt grinder, you should take your time in getting to know it. While it’s great for taking off metal, it’s also great for taking off your skin. The belt abrasive also doesn’t distinguish between the material and your knuckles.
2. Wear the Right Safety Gear
You will find that the proper grinder stance starts with the proper safety gear. You must wear steel-toe boots, for example, to keep your balance.
Your clothes also matter in keeping your footing. Your pants shouldn’t interfere with your foot movements, especially when changing positions. Your shirt should also allow for free movement. You don’t want its sleeves or hem caught in the grinder’s moving parts.
Keep in mind that high-speed power equipment can grab and pull objects too close to it. Baggy clothes, dangling jewelry, and long hair don’t mix with rotational forces, too.
You should also wear eye and ear protection (e.g., safety goggles and ear muffs). You can maintain your balance when you don’t have to worry about the dust, debris and noise. You will not step back too often from your work area, which will affect your grinder stance.
3. Find a Comfortable Position
When you’re in a comfortable stance, your efficiency and safety also improve. You have to experiment with the grinder placement, too. Your comfortable working position will be different because of your build and height.
A comfortable stance is also a must to aim the sparks better. You want the sparks to flow away from your body instead of burning your skin and clothes. You have to mind the sparks considering their hot temperatures – 1,400◦F to 2,190◦F.
You should also ensure that there are no flammable materials nearby. These include gas cans, old paper, and even loose hay since these can start a fire. You may have to move things around or clean the area first.
4. Be Mindful of the Tool Position
Even a slight misuse of a belt grinder can result in serious injuries. Your safety can depend on these tips:
Turn the belt toward the tool.
Use deliberate movements when turning the belt. Your haste in moving the tool too quickly into the belt can have negative consequences. The belt can be destroyed or the tool can be pulled away from your hands.
Move the tool up its rest until it makes contact with the belt.
Apple the right pressure. Change the belt if the belt isn’t cutting anymore. Avoid applying excessive force since it will increase your safety risk.
Indeed, your stance has an impact on the angle and pressure applied on the belt. You can change positions if it contributes to your comfort, efficiency and productivity.
The proper grinder stance is a combination of several aspects. These include proper body posture, safety gear, and tool position. Their combination will increase the chances for effective results and efficient operations.
But the combination doesn’t come by chance. You have to undergo the proper education and training to achieve it. You can enroll in formal classes, become an apprentice, and learn through instructional materials.
Your vigilance in watching your grinder stance for better performance is a must. You cannot be complacent in the presence of highly abrasive materials and sharp objects. Your co-workers are also depending on your safety awareness for a good working environment.
Your proper grinder stance also contributes to the productivity of your entire group. You can create standard work pieces within the budget and time allotted. Your working habits may even rub off on your teammates!