Buffing wheels have two sections: the Safe area and the Unsafe area. The Safe area covers the section of the buffing wheel that is rotating away from the workpiece. The Unsafe area covers the other half of the buffing wheel that is rotating toward the workpiece. These sections are so delineated because of the way that a workpiece would be pulled if it slips out of your fingers and tossed by the motion of the wheel. Objects that are thrown by the buffing wheel can be traveling at very high speeds and can result in very unpleasant or even dangerous accidents if they are thrown back at you like they are when caught in the Unsafe region. On the other hand, while objects caught in the Safe region will be tossed with similar speeds, the Safe region will cause the piece to be sucked away from you, preventing potentially painful accidents.
Before starting to polish at any time, be sure to check which way your wheel is turning so you can adjust your position and hold the piece in a Safe region. Additionally, be aware of the shape of the object you are polishing: if it has sharp corners, edges or hooks, you will want to be sure to hold it to the wheel so that the edge is flowing away from the buff to keep the part from catching on your wheel and flying dangerously away from you.
- Safety goggles, you should always wear them to prevent eye injury that might be cause by flying debris or accidentally thrown objects that get caught on the wheel. If you do not plan to wear safety glasses of some sort, make sure that the polishing motor you have is being used behind a protective plate to keep the debris from flying toward you.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing that could get caught in the fast moving and spinning parts of your buffing equipment. Otherwise, be sure to wear a jeweler’s apron to keep loose clothing tied back and out of danger.
- Either wear a dust mask or respirator and work in a well ventilated area or use a dust collecting machine to avoid inhaling dust and other debris into your lungs. The dust from polishing and buffing can sometimes be hazardous to your health if you inhale large quantities of it frequently.
- Wear gloves or use hand vises and wedge clamps to keep a firm grip on the workpieces you are polishing. Sometimes the metals can become hot while you work which can result in minor burns or dangerous dropping of the piece. By using gloves and other holding equipment, you can protect yourself and the work you are doing.