The Three Most Dangerous Accidents When Using Conventional Abrasive or Diamond Blades

Compiled from Fatality & Catastrophe Investigation Summaries at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

According to the OSHA, these three accidents are the most common accidents from using diamond blades and conventional abrasive blades: exploding conventional abrasie blades, kick back from conventional abrasive and diamond blades, and diamond blade segment loss or shattering. Find out how these accidents are causes and what you can do to prevent them.


Exploding Conventional Abrasive Blades


This worker was killed while trying to open a manhole cover with a conventional abrasive blade. He removed the blade guard from a 6" grinder in order to cut with a 12" blade. The blade shattered and threw a chunk into his head. It took him 15 minutes to die. (Source: RapidKL via West Coalfields Limited e-Library)

This worker was killed while trying to open a manhole cover with a conventional abrasive blade. He removed the blade guard from a 6" grinder in order to cut with a 12" blade. The blade shattered and threw a chunk into his head. It took him 15 minutes to die. (Source: RapidKL via West Coalfields Limited e-Library)


Known as carbide blades, fiber blades and/or throw away blades, these products reached the top of the list as the deadliest and most dangerous product to use for cutting or grinding. OSHA data shows that an employee is 15.5 times more likely to be killed by an conventional abrasive blade exploding than by having a diamond blade shatter. Also, the same employee is 27 times more likely to be seriously injured by an conventional abrasive blade than by a diamond blade (OSHA categorizes a “serious” injury as one which results in an amputation, loss of an eye, or hospitalization). There are also air quality concerns with conventional abrasive blades. Several commonly used conventional abrasive materials, including silicon carbide and titanium dioxide are listed as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.


“Male sustained deep laceration to right side of face from broken blade of angle grinder, sustaining severe right eye injury, resulting in complete loss of vision in that eye.” (Source: Royal North Shore Hospital)

“Male sustained deep laceration to right side of face from broken blade of angle grinder, sustaining severe right eye injury, resulting in complete loss of vision in that eye.” (Source: Royal North Shore Hospital)


Conventional abrasive blades may explode if:

  • The blade being used has been damaged (e.g. cracked, chipped or exposed to water & other chemicals etc.).
  • The blade gets pinched or bound in the material being cut
  • Not allowing a blade to cool properly. conventional abrasive blade manufacturers recommend as much as 30 seconds cooling time for every 30 seconds working time.
  • The blade is being run at RPM’s that are higher than manufacturer recommendations.
  • Reusing the blade the next day.
  • The blade was stored near any type of corrosive gas, liquid or chemical.
  • For saws, tilting the saw to the left or right while cutting.


Kick Back from Conventional Abrasive and Diamond Blades

Kick back accidents were the second most dangerous type of accident for workers using cutting and grinding tools. OSHA statistics show that 10% of kick backs that occur result in the operator’s death, while the other 90% cause serious injuries. Both diamond and conventional abrasive blades can kick back, but per OSHA statistics, a worker is 8.5 times more likely to be injured by an conventional abrasive blade kicking back than a diamond blade. Kick back injuries typically occur when a worker becomes fatigued and stands closer to the tool to use more body weight to stabilize it in the cut.

Kick back may occur if:

  • The blade gets pinched or binds.
  • The blade is not designed for the material being cut.
  • The cutter uses the top edge side of the blade to cut.
  • The blade is warped or glazed over (the diamonds are no longer exposed).


Diamond Blade Segment Loss or Shattering

Diamond blade segment was the third most dangerous accident involving cutting and grinding blades. While this type of accident is significantly less common than an conventional abrasive blade explosion, it still poses threat to workers. As a matter of fact, based on data compiled from OSHA, 40% of the time when a segment broke off the blade and hit and employee the injury was deadly and the other 60% of injuries were serious enough to require hospitalization.

A diamond segment may break off if:

  • The weld holding the segment to the core is defective.
  • Undercutting causes the blade core to wear thin and weaken.
  • Unexpected rebar pries segments from the steel core.
  • Overheating of the blade while cutting causes the weld to weaken.


How Desert Diamond Industries Mititgates These Risks

Desert Diamond Industries is dedicated to reducing the three aforementioned risk factors and to increasing employee safety in the field, while at the same time reducing your costs in the area and helping you to increase profits and revenues by supplying diamond blades that have been specifically designed to be a safer alternative.

After extensive research & development, our solid steel core, non-segmented Safety Blade has been proven to significantly improve safety as it relates to the 3 most dangerous accidents, guaranteed!


Eliminating the Risks of Conventional Abrasive Blade Injuries

The only way to eliminate the risk of conventional abrasive blade related injuries is to stop using conventional abrasive blades completely. Our solid steel core, vacuum-brazed Safety Blade is a safer, more cost-efficient replacement consumable. We’ve found that our clients initially felt that by running conventional abrasive blades they were receiving the lowest cost per cut, but that they changed their minds when they saw our product in action. In addition, one Safety Blade will outlast 150 high quality conventional abrasive blades eliminating 150 possible serious accidents caused by either improper blade changes or by replacing a worn conventional abrasive blade with a damaged or contaminated blade.


Reducing the Risk of Saw Kick Back

One of the main factors in saw kick back injuries is operator fatigue and standing to close to the saw. Our blade helps prevent operator fatigue by significantly reducing the time it takes to make a cut. Our clients tell us our blade can cut a 6” ductile main, .25” in less than 40 seconds.

Because of its design, the Safety Blade does not require that workers do not have to lean on, or push on the saw to make it cut. Our clients feel this is a significant factor when it comes to operator safety.


Eliminating the Risk of Segment Loss

Most diamond saw blades have segments that are welded to the core, which creates a risk of segment loss when cutting. Desert Diamond Industries has now addressed the risk of segment loss with our solid steel core non-segmented Safety Blade. This is the only diamond blade on the market that does not have a welded segment that can break off, thereby reducing the potential for segment loss and ensuring the safety of your employees.


References

Fatality and Catastrophe Investigation Summaries”, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/accidentsearch.html

“Agents Classified by the IARC Monographs Volumes 1–115”, International Agency for Research on Cancer, http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/nsAlphaOrder.pdf

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