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How to use safely abrasive diamond saws?

How to use safely abrasive diamond saws?

Would you contemplate driving an unsafe car at speeds in excess of 360 km/h without following strong safety recommendations? Of course not, you would be mad to do this!

And yet, how many workers or DIYers are putting their lives in danger, every time they use an abrasive diamond saw mounted on a hand-held machine? The risks are considerable: if the saw bursts, then metal fragments from the saw can be ejected at a speed of 288 km/h with an angle grinder, and 360 km/h with a petrol saw. These can cause severe injuries to both the workers themselves, and anybody else in the vicinity.  

Solutions do exist to ensure the safe use of an abrasive: 

1) Use only diamond saws marked with EN 13236:

The EN 13236 marking shows that the manufacturer fulfills the essential safety requirements of the European safety standard EN 13236 for superabrasives, which is intended to reduce the risks to end users, and to be in compliance with National laws in each European country.

In 2015 this standard was improved in order to avoid wobbling and limit kick-back on diamond saws with diameters from 300 mm and 400 mm, used on petrol-saws and high frequency machines. The amendment required that all saws with these diameters must be tensioned and have no side grain coating. The amendment is being implemented without a transition period, meaning that all producers marking their products with EN 13236 must fulfill these new requirements now.

2) Follow FEPA’s safety recommendations:

Every manufacturer, supplier, and distributor is obliged by European law (GPSD*) to provide safety recommendations to end-users, and to highlight the less-obvious risks of using their products.  Abrasives’ producers, members of FEPA (the Federation of the European Producers of Abrasives), all provide users and distributors with FEPA safety leaflets in their packaging.

FEPA and safety experts from abrasives’ producers have designed tutorial videos to highlight essential safety recommendations so that accidents can be avoided while using abrasive products. Users can follow step-by-step guides showing how to select and mount an abrasive on a machine, how to cut-off or grind from a technical point of view,  what to look for on a wheel/saw/disc before using it, how to select appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE)…  The videos show in great detail what to do, how to do it and why it should be done.

FEPA has published two safety videos on the use of diamond saws for cutting-off. FEPA’s aim is to increase awareness amongst end-users of the safe use of abrasive products and ultimately reduce risks and prevent accidents:
   ■ How to use a diamond saw to cut-off with an angle grinder?
   ■ How to use a diamond saw to cut-off with a petrol saw?

Every professional, buyer, employer and end-user is encouraged to share widely this information and the video links. By doing so, you will contribute to the development of safety awareness, promote safe use of products, help reduce accidents, and protect all workers and DIYers working with abrasive products and hand held machines.

* General Product Safety Directive