Why operating procedures are just as important as PPE.

Public news

A light vehicle apprentice was lucky when he recently suffered a minor laceration to his left thumb as a result to using a hand angle grinder to cut a lock on a chain. After investigating the workplace incident, it was identified that the young apprentice, who was wearing the appropriate hand PPE, was holding the chain with his left hand and holding the angle grinder with his right hand when it grinder jerked suddenly cutting his left thumb. The apprentice reported the incident to his Service Manager immediately who provided first aid on site and then taken to nearest medical centre for further treatment.

The apprentice lost two days off work and returned to modified duties for a week before being medically cleared to return to normal pre-injury duties.

A refresher course in Hazardous Task Training was provided to the apprentice highlighting the importance of the safe operating procedures when using an angle grinder to NOT hold small objects by hand when using the angle grinder.

By employers providing regular safety training relating to hazardous high risk tasks, the chance of a repeat incident is highly unlikely.


1. Stand to the side of the wheels when starting up.

2. Let the wheels gain maximum speed before starting to grind.

3. Do not grind on the side of the wheel.

4. Small objects must not be held by hand.

5. Never leave the machine running unattended.

6. Do not bend down near the machine whilst it is running.

7. Never force the work piece against a wheel. Hold the grinder against the work piece with minimum pressure, so it doesn’t ‘dig in’ and cause it to kick;

8. Keep the grinding disc at a 15°-30° angle to the work and ensure you are standing in a position that if the angle grinder was to kick it will not kick into your body

The MTA works with a number of people to get apprentices back into the workplace after an injury.

If you have an apprentice or other employees that need help, contact the MTA’s WHS & RTW Coordinator by clicking here.

To request a copy of the MTA’s angle grinding safe operating procedures, click here.