Abrasives Safety Training – The good, the bad and the ugly!
Despite the huge effort that goes into the design and production of safe abrasives, when manufacturers investigate accidents involving their products, they find that the cause is most often due to poorly trained operators and products being incorrectly mounted or used. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, “nearly half of all accidents involving abrasive wheels occur because of an unsafe system of work or operator error.”
It is a legal requirement for people using abrasive wheels to be properly trained, but training can be provided by anyone, irrespective of experience, knowledge or skill, and no certainty that courses offered are accurate, complete or up-to-date. Under Regulation 9 of PUWER 98 (The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998), all operators, managers and supervisors must receive adequate health and safety training including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the equipment and any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.
In an effort to improve the level of training, in the UK, for example, the recently established British Abrasives Federation accreditation scheme seeks to identify and accredit only those organisations that conduct operator abrasives safety training to the highest possible standards and to differentiate them from the less professional offerings.
Anyone conducting training courses also needs to properly trained and regularly re-trained to keep up to date with developments but how many have done this? The BAF recommend re-training every three years but where can they receive the proper training?
The answer is to attend an accredited Train the Trainer course. By undertaking such an accredited course, the most up to date and accurate information is provided within the requirements of the HSE Guidance, HS(G)17 – Safety in the Use of Abrasive Wheels, and the recommendations given in the FEPA Safety Codes for Bonded, Coated and Superabrasive wheels. Trainer’s courses will cover, for example,
• Introduction to abrasives; types and applications covered by the requirements
• Professional bodies involved in abrasive wheel safety and how they interact
• Hazards and accidents associated with the use of grinding wheels and precautions to be taken
• Safety requirements for abrasive wheels and machines and applicable standards
• Correct selection and specification of abrasives
• Regulations governing the supply and use of abrasives
• Codes of practice for the safe use of abrasives
One company that has been closely involved with the BAF in the development of professional courses is Tassia. Indeed, Tassia has been conducting courses for trainers and instructors since 2000 and is currently the only company accredited by the BAF for these types of courses. Through an active involvement with the abrasives trade associations, standards organisations and safety bodies, TASSIA is able to provide the most up to date and comprehensive training in abrasive wheel safety available. No other training provider for abrasives safety in the UK can match their level of experience, involvement and expertise.
For further information visit the TASSIA website: www.tassia.co.uk