What is a kick-back effect when cutting off with a diamond or an abrasive disc?


The kick-back effect is a violent reaction caused by pinching of the disc when cutting material. When the pinching occurs, the disc is instantly immobilized and the kinetic energy is transferred to the machine that depending on where the pinching occurs, can rebound up and hit the end-user or someone else near the working area in the throat or the shoulder, or it can abruptly advance forward and break the wrist of the end-user or hit someone else who is in the working area. Even though it is rare, kick-backs can, therefore, be the cause of serious accidents. These accidents can lead for the end-users to: (1) cessation of work, partial (sick days), complete (disability); or (2) in extreme cases, death.

Kick-back issues mainly occurs while cutting off with a hand-held machine using bonded or diamond discs. The most frequent reasons behind the pinching occurrence are well known and can be easily prevented if the following safety recommendations are implemented:

  • Use discs that are conformed to the European Safety Standards: EN 13236 for Superabrasives, and EN 12413 for bonded abrasives
  • Ensure that the cut-off parts can fall without any attach to avoid the pinching of the disc
  • Run all wheels after fitting for at least 30 seconds at operating speed keeping behind the guard in case the wheel breaks
  • Cut the material in a straight line and at a 90° angle
  • Never force on the disc or the machine while cutting
The pinching itself can be provoked by wobbling or the deformation of the disc at high speed.


The best practices with regards to end-users safety while operating machinery are the following:

  • Hold the machine with two hands
  • Stand next to the work area, not in the work area
  • Wear the protective equipment
  • Never force on the machine while cutting
  • Stay firm on your feet and keep your arms firmly horizontal
These best practices on themselves do not prevent kick-backs from happening, but in the event they happen, it can attenuate their effect.


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