OSH Answers Fact Sheets
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What should you do before using a metal saw?
Hot metal saws can be dangerous if not used properly.
- Read the owner's manual carefully.
- Make sure you understand instructions and are properly trained before operating a hot metal saw.
Hot metal saws, often referred to as cut-off saws or chop saws, use an abrasive cut-off wheel. The machine may operate dry or wet, at low or high speed, and in either manual or automatic mode.
Refer to Metalworking Machines - General for general safety tips.
What are some basic safety principles to follow?
- Wear appropriate safety glasses.
- Wear hearing protection.
- Wear respiratory protection when necessary.
- Handle and store wheels as directed by the manufacturer.
- Inspect all wheels for possible damage before mounting.
- Use the proper blade for the material being cut.
- Check machine speed against the maximum safe operating speed marked on the wheel.
- Ensure that mounting flanges are equal and the correct diameter (at least 1/4 of the wheel diameter).
- Use mounting blotters when they are supplied with wheels.
- Clamp work firmly in place when using non-reinforced cut-off wheels.
- Use a properly designed safety guard covering at least one half of the grinding wheel.
- Allow mounted wheels to run at operating speed, with guards in place, for one minute before cutting.
- Bring wheel into contact with the work without bumping on impact.
- Turn off coolant before stopping the wheel to avoid an out-of-balance condition.
- Keep working surface clean of scraps, tools and materials.
- Keep floor around saw clean and free of oil and grease.
- Ensure that the saw has a start/stop button within easy reach of the operator.
Also refer to Abrasive Wheels for additional information.
What should you avoid doing?
- Do not use a cracked wheel or one that has been dropped or damaged.
- Do not force a wheel onto the machine or alter the size of the mounting hole. If the wheel does not fit the machine properly, get one that will.
- Do not exceed the maximum operating speed marked on the wheel.
- Do not use mounting flanges whose bearing surfaces are not equal, clean, flat and free of burrs.
- Do not tighten the mounting nut excessively.
- Do not grind on the side of the wheel.
- Do not start machine until the wheel guard is in place.
- Do not stand directly in front of the cut-off wheel when starting a machine.
- Do not jam, bend or pinch the wheel.
- Do not force cutting such that the motor slows.
- Do not cut without proper ventilation.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.