Fatality caused by 9 inch angle grinder

11 March 2016

WorkCover Queensland recently issued a safety alert as a result of an incident in February 2016 where a Queensland worker received fatal injuries while operating a 9 inch (230 mm) angle grinder. The worker was killed when part of a broken disc struck the worker's chest at high impact, causing fatal internal injuries. 

9 inch grinders have been banned from a number of work sites due to the increased risk of injury. In the majority of catastrophic injuries and fatalities involving 9 inch grinders, the level of risk was significantly increased because workers have removed guards and/or used incorrect discs. Discs have been too large and/or discs intended for cutting are used for grinding and vice versa. The Safety Alert below provides a detailed description of the contributing factors and recommended actions.

Click here to read the Safety Alert

The best course of action is to consider eliminating the use of a 9 inch grinder by taking into account the following:

  • 9 inch (230 mm) angle grinders have been banned on some work sites due to the increased risk of injury.
  • The increased power and size of the unit will cause more severe kickback and gyroscopic effects (i.e. makes the grinder difficult to manoeuvre).
  • A risk assessment to identify alternative methods and tools should be carried out prior to selecting a 9 inch (230 mm) angle grinder.