ANSI B7.1 - The Bible of Grinding Wheel Safety

ANSI B7.1 has been called the “Bible” for grinding wheel safety for good reason.

It is the abrasive (grinding) wheel industry standard for the “Safety Requirements for the Use, Care and Protection of Abrasive Wheels” and most abrasive wheel safety-related questions can be found there. What are the topics included in this important document? Listed below is a short description of the types of information found in each section of ANSI B7.1.

Section 1 – Scope and Definitions

This first section defines the various types of abrasive grinding wheel products covered by this ANSI standard (shapes, sizes, etc.). It also provides “key” definitions of the commonly used equipment and terminology used by the abrasive wheel industry.

Section 2 – Handling and Storage

Since the causes of many grinding wheel breakages can be traced back to improper storage and handling, this section focuses on how to handle and store grinding wheels. Included in this section is information related to the shelf life of a grinding wheel.

Section 3 – General Machine Conditions

Grinding wheels by themselves do not produce any energy. Accidents and injuries do not occur without the aid of the grinding machines which produce the energy required to make the abrasive wheel perform the needed task. Therefore, this important section deals with the very general machine conditions required for the safe use of grinding wheels.

Section 4 – Safety Guards

Safety guards are required with most grinding wheels, there are very few exceptions. This section covers what products need to be guarded. What types of guards you must use as well as their design and construction. Most injuries are caused by operators who fail to use the correct type/ adjusted wheel guard. Many injuries can be avoided by following the guarding requirements listed in this section.

Section 5 – Flanges

The machine drives the wheel through its mounting flanges. These flanges transfer the energy of the machine into the grinding wheel. Incorrect (wrong size or type) or damaged flanges can break the strongest and largest grinding wheel. This section provides information on the proper size and type of flanges. Flange design and construction is also covered.

Section 6 – Mounting

Proper wheel mounting and safety go hand in hand. Wheel inspection, flange tightening and much more are covered in this section.

Section 7 – Standard Speeds

Exceeding the safe operating speed of a grinding wheel can cause it to break into many small pieces (wheel fragments). These wheel fragments can create property damages, serious injury or even death. Proper wheel and machine speed is critical to abrasive safety. As the wheel speed is increased, the rotational stresses rise exponentially. When you double the wheel speed, you quadruple the rotational stresses applied to the wheel. Matching wheel speed to machine speed is essential to grinding wheel safety. For additional information on this topic or if you need any other abrasive safety information, please review ANSI, OSHA and all literature provided by the coated abrasive and machine manufacturer. You may contact the Saint-Gobain Product Safety Department at (508) 795-2317, Fax (508) 795-5120 or contact your Saint-Gobain Abrasives representative with any safety related questions. 

Section 8 – Special Speeds

Section 8 defines the requirements for wheels that are rated for speeds above the standard speed allowed in Section 7. If you need a grinding wheel to operate at higher than standard speeds there must be coordination between the wheel manufacturer, the machine supplier and the end user. The wheel must be manufactured and marked for the higher than standard speed and the machine must be designed and guarded for that higher speed wheel. The end user must be trained in the operation of high speed wheels and the machine must be properly maintained for high speed wheels.

Section 9 – General Operating Rules

This section covers many general rules. Rules assocated with personal protection equipment (PPE), wheel breakage procedures, how to start a wheel, wheel speed, wheel vibration/balance issues, truing/dressing, wet grinding, wheel’s discard size, machine conversions, etc.

Section 10 – Mounted Wheels

Mounted wheels (mounted points) are typically small abrasive wheels mounted to mandrels or small spindles. Because of their shape and sizes, they have special mounting and speed requirements.

You should read and refer to this ANSI standard when you have any type of safety question! If you do not have this important safety standard, you may request a copy by contacting your Saint-Gobain Abrasives representative or Saint-Gobain Product Safety Department at (508) 795-2317, Fax (508) 795-5120.