Abrasive Blades: A Quarter Million Injured and Rising

Abrasive wheels caused nearly a quarter of a million injuries and resulted in nearly $1.1 million in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines since 2006. Here’s a breakdown of those injuries by year, with 2014 as the latest year available for all sources.

Abrasive Injuries by Year, 2006-2014 (compiled from OSHA, MSHA, and CPSC figures)

This is based on figures provided by OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

According to OSHA, workplace injuries from blades and grinders have been on the increase, as you can see in this chart.


Serious Cutting and Grinding Injuries, 1984-2013 (according to OSHA statistics)

Cutting and grinding injuries are on the rise, according to OSHA.

The vast majority of these injuries are caused by conventional abrasive blades and wheels, rather than superabrasive wheels like diamond blades and grinders.


Serious Cutting and Grinding Injuries by Blade, 1984-2013 (according to OSHA statistics)


Cutting and Grinding Deaths by Blade, 1984-2013 (according to OSHA statistics)

Most on-the-job injuries and deaths from blades and grinders are caused by conventional abrasive wheels, not superabrasives like diamond wheels.


The Really Bad News

It gets worse, because there are two things that we still don’t know.

First, this figure doesn’t count all abrasive injuries. There are still more injury databases at which we need to look.

Second, these figures only include reported injuries – that is, injuries that resulted in hospitalization, amputation, loss of an eye, or death. Plenty of injuries go unreported because they’re treated on-site to avoid OSHA and MSHA reporting requirements, not to mention OSHA and MSHA fines.

In other words, there are a lot more people being injured by abrasive wheels that we just don’t know about.

How We Can Help

The best way to avoid getting hurt or killed by an abrasive wheel is to stop using them. You still to grind and cut, though, which is why Desert Diamond Industries makes the Safety Blade and Safety Blade Grinder/Cutter.

The Safety Blade and Safety Blade Grinder/Cutter are both solid-steel superabrasive wheels that won’t break or explode during use. They also won’t emit hazardous, cancer-causing dust like abrasive wheels. They’ll let you go home after your shift instead of the emergency room or the morgue.


This article uses data gathered from OSHA Fatality and Catastrophe Investigation Summaries, the MSHA Accident Injuries Data Set, and the CPSC’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.