Do's and Don'ts of Portable Cut-Off Wheels

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Portable cut-off wheels are among the most common bonded abrasive products in use. Found everywhere from metal fabrication shops to homeowners’ garages, these wheels are very safe when used correctly. However, accidents have occurred because of misuse and abuse of these wheels.


Avoiding accidents begins with learning and following the basic Do’s and Don’ts for portable cut-off wheels, listed below. 


  • Do wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Required PPE is safety glasses along with goggles or a face shield. Wear other PPE as needed, such as gloves, dust mask, apron, etc.
  • Do check all wheels for cracks or damage before use.
  • Do check machine speed against the maximum operating speed marked on the wheel.
  • Do mount portable cut-off wheels only on grinders with proper guards.
  • Do mount portable cut-off wheels with proper flanges.
  • Do position the wheel guard so that it stands between the operator and the wheel.
  • Do run the wheel in a protected area (such as under a bench) for one minute before cutting.
  • Do securely clamp the workpiece at both ends before cutting.
  • Do use the cut-off wheel only for cutting, not grinding or deburring.
  • Do maintain the cut-off wheel at 90 degrees to the workpiece at all times.
  • Do prevent impacts to the cut-off wheel.
  • Do feed the wheel into the workpiece at a moderate, constant rate.
  • Do cut only materials designed for the cut-off wheel (e.g. metal, masonry, etc.).
  • Do stop cutting and investigate any unusual sounds, vibrations, or anything abnormal.
  • Do keep all body parts and clothing clear of the rotating wheel.
  • Do be aware of the spark stream and protect yourself and bystanders. Remove all flammable materials from the work area.
  • Do maintain your tools as if your life depends on it.
  • Do replace damaged wheel guards.
  • Do always handle and store cut-off wheels in a careful manner.
  • Do follow all symbols and warnings located on the wheel.
  • Do review the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for the wheel and the material being cut before using the wheel.
  • Do comply with ANSI B7.1, OSHA and all safety materials provided with the wheel and machine.
  • Do visit the abrasive manufacturer’s website for additional safety information.
  • Do contact your abrasive manufacturer if you have any safety questions.
  • Don’t use arbor bushings other than those supplied by the wheel manufacturer.
  • Don’t alter or remove the machine’s wheel guard.
  • Don’t use wheels that have been dropped or otherwise damaged.
  • Don’t use abrupt or excessive pressure while cutting.
  • Don’t cut wood or other non-approved materials with an abrasive cut-off wheel.
  • Don’t use the side of a cut-off wheel.
  • Don’t allow the wheel to bend or twist while cutting.
  • Don’t set down the grinder with it leaning on the cut-off wheel.
  • Don’t use the wheel if you have not reviewed all of the safety materials and have not been properly trained in the use of the tool and wheel.









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.


The Product Safety Department
Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Inc.