Safety Dos and Don'ts Working with Cut-Off and Grinding Wheels

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Safety Guide for Cut-off and Grinding Wheels
Cut-off wheel used with grinder on shaped steel bar

Safety Guide for Cut-off and Grinding Wheels

Cut-off and grinding wheels are powerful abrasives that can be used to cut many very hard materials. These materials range from metals to concrete, brick and stone. You can learn more about their use in our post Get to Know Cut-Off Wheels and Grinding Wheels.

With all power tools and abrasives, it is important to follow safety guidance to avoid injury and get the results you expect from your work with cut-off and grinding wheels. All grinding wheels are marked with recommended applications and warnings for safe use. Be sure to read and follow the instructions. The maximum speed of grinding wheels is clearly marked on each wheel. Know the speed of the machine on which the grinding wheel will be used. Never exceed the maximum safe speed marked on the grinding wheel.

Please observe the following best practices to get the best results safely:


  1. DO check all wheels for cracks or other damage before mounting
  2. DO make sure the machine speed does not exceed the maximum operating speed marked on the wheel
  3. DO use an ANSI B7.1 wheel guard. Position it so it protects the operator
  4. DO be sure wheel hole or threads fit machine arbor properly and that the flanges are clean, flat, undamaged, and the proper type
  5. DO run wheel in a protected area for one minute before grinding
  6. DO wear ANSI Z87+ safety glasses and additional eye and face protection, if required
  7. DO employ dust controls and/or protective measures appropriate to the material being ground
  8. DO comply with OSHA regulations 29 CFR 1926.1153 when working on materials containing crystalline silica such as concrete, mortar and stone
  9. DO hold grinder firmly with two hands
  10. DO cut in a straight line only when using cutting wheels
  11. DO support workpiece firmly
  12. DO read the machine manual, operating instructions and warnings
  13. DO read the SDS for the wheel and the work-piece material
  14. DO Refer to ANSI B7.1 and wheel manufacturer


  1. DON’T allow untrained people to handle, store, mount or use wheels
  2. DON’T use grinding or cutting wheels on pistol grip air sanders
  3. DON’T use wheels which have been dropped or damaged
  4. DON’T use a wheel on grinders rotating at speeds higher than the MAX RPM marked on the wheel or on grinders that do not show a MAX RPM speed
  5. DON’T use excessive pressure when mounting a wheel. Tighten enough only to hold wheel firmly
  6. DON’T alter a wheel hole or force it on a spindle
  7. DON’T mount more than one wheel on an arbor
  8. DON’T use any Type 1/41 or 27/42 cutting wheel for grinding. DO not apply any side pressure on a cutting wheel. Use for CUTTING ONLY
  9. DON’T use a cutting wheel to cut curves. Cut in straight lines only
  10. DON’T twist, bend or jam any wheel
  11. DON’T force or bump wheel so that the tool motor slows or stalls
  12. DON’T remove or modify any guard. ALWAYS use a proper guard
  13. DON’T use wheels in the presence of combustible materials
  14. DON’T use wheels near bystanders if they are not wearing protective equipment
  15. DON’T use wheels for applications other than for which they were designed

Grinding Wheel Warning Sticker