Angle grinders (enabling them to be used safely in the space)

Bit of backstory (as I understand it).

We have had angle grinders in the space before, which had no practical restrictions on their use. As a result, many of them were misused, and broken. One was broken to the point where the manufacturer didn’t understand how a tool could be so badly misused.

Angle grinders can be very, very dangerous tools. When misused, they are especially dangerous.

As a result, we removed angle grinders from the space at some point last year. However, some members have asked about using them. So the question is: how do we allow angle grinders to be used safely in the hackspace?

@Fnhalluk took a valuable first step by creating a risk assessment. I have recently reviewed that and have made some notes about changes.

I feel (just my opinion) that if a user can show that they understand the controls to put in place, they could be allowed to use a grinder. I think it would be possible to do this in the form of an online quiz, meaning an in-person training session wouldn’t be necessary.

So my proposed solution would be:

  1. Angle grinder risk assessment is finalised
  2. Information about angle grinder safety and risk assessment are added to the grinder tool page, along with a video (this one is the best I have found)
  3. User completes quiz about grinder safety. I have been speaking to the digital team about this, and the quiz can be crated in Google forms.
  4. Once user achieves a pass mark, they get the code to the angle grinder padlock. I believe this can be automated, but it’s fairly easy to manually mark a user as trained once the quiz is complete. It just requires more manual steps.

This digital quiz format might be a good option for some of our lower risk tools which nevertheless require some level of control.

I’m happy to crack on with this process and would appreciate people’s thoughts. I’ll need reviewers and testers for the quiz once that is created as well.

Hi Mike,

This process sounds and looks good to me, angle grinders do feel like fairly essential pieces of kit for a metal workshop.

My only comment is that a 45 minute video is quite long. I can imagine someone sticking it on, then browsing the web while it runs in the background. I do appreciate however that it may take someone 45 minutes to learn how to use the tool correctly. I can also imagine someone wanting to use the tool while in the space, seeing it’s induction protected and then trying to rush the quiz.

The solutions to this could be:

  • Youtube has a feature where you can get the video to begin at a certain timestamp, we could break the video up into ‘essential’ chunks and put these into the google form.
  • Find other videos that are shorter.
  • Make our own video.

I think in my mind i was expecting about a 10 minute video when i clicked the link. I’d also add I didn’t watch the video, so it might be really to the point, there are just a lot of points to cover.


Joe with an everyday members hat on

Cheers Joe. That video is really good, but watching it back the other day, I realised it’s got some US-specific stuff in there so it’s not actually ideal for our needs.

I might just end up writing something out with images.