Abrasive Wheel Information & Resources

Welcome to our Abrasive Wheel Information & Resources page, where you can find useful links to external websites such as the HSE, as well as informative documents which focus on abrasive wheels.

The use of abrasive wheels is covered primarily by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) and further guidance is given by the HSE in the publication HSG17 “Safety in the Use of Abrasive Wheels” which gives abrasive wheel information and advice.

This publication only offers guidelines and isn’t intended to hinder you, however you have to comply with the law and the guidance given in HSG17 will enable you to do this.

The risk of breakage is inherent in every abrasive wheel. If the number of breakages is to be kept low, the initial care exercised in the design, manufacture and testing by abrasive wheel and machine makers must be coupled with the adoption of safety measures by the users. Accident statistics indicate that nearly half of all accidents involving abrasive wheels are due to an unsafe system of work or operator error.

In relation to abrasive wheels, PUWER 98 requires, among other things, that all machinery is suitable for its intended use and is properly maintained, and that employees, including those using, mounting and managing the operation of abrasive wheels, are fully informed and properly trained in their safe use.

Source HSG17 “Safety in the Use of Abrasive Wheels”

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    Only use abrasive products that conform to the highest standards of safety, these products will bear the relevant EN standard number. Don’t take risks by purchasing products with no EN number marked on the wheel.

    Ensure everyone using abrasive wheels is properly trained. It is a legal requirement for all people using abrasive products to be trained.

    There is no substitute for proper training and it is very important that you select an accredited organisation for your training requirements to ensure that the abrasive wheel information provided is accurate and up-to-date.

    Never allow untrained people to mount or use abrasive products.

    Useful Documents

    Trying to find abrasive wheel information in one place can be difficult. With this in mind, please find below a list of links to useful documents relating to the safe use of abrasive wheels:

    HSG17 “Safety in the Use of Abrasive Wheels” 

    Safe Use of Work Equipment “PUWER98”

    HSG129 “Health & Safety in Engineering Workshops”

    INDG461 “Using Cut Off Saws” 

    INDG463 “Control of Exposure to Silica Dust”

    FEPA Safety Leaflets

    OSA – The Organisation for The Safety of Abrasives “Users”

    Organisations involved in Abrasive Wheel Safety

    The Health & Safety Executive are responsible for regulations and enforcement of these in the UK.

    There are also other organisations who are actively involved in promoting abrasive wheel safety not only here in the UK but also across the rest of Europe and the World.

    The British Abrasives Federation (BAF):

    In an industry becoming increasingly globalised, The British Abrasives Federation (BAF) provides a vehicle whereby abrasive suppliers in the UK have the opportunity to take an active role in the generation of safety rules, regulations and standards common to all participating countries.

    In Europe, CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) Safety Requirements are ultimately adopted by all EU members and become the minimum norm to which manufacturers adhere. ISO (International Standards Organisation) Standards developed in parallel and fully compatible with the CEN regulations reach a global ordinance via the various National Standards Associations and Institutes.

    BAF Members provide specialists to help create the regulations and standards with both of the above organisations, and work closely with BSI (British Standards Institution) and the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) at all stages.

    BAF and its Members work in close liaison with FEPA (Federation of European Producers of Abrasives) and the Technical Commissions within the organisation, to produce Safety Leaflets, Safety Codes and Material Safety Data Sheets, in as many as 6 different European languages. The use of these documents plays a vital role in ensuring that up-to-date information is available to abrasive users in domestic and export markets. The FEPA Safety Codes and Safety Leaflets form an essential element in the development of training modules.

    The Federation of European Producers of Abrasives (FEPA)

    FEPA, the Federation of European Producers of Abrasives, is an association representing over 80% of the European producers of abrasive products, a world leader, including SMEs and international companies in the world, as well as the abrasives National Associations and their members. FEPA Members cover 90% of abrasives European production, exporting 35% of it in the world.

    FEPA’s missions, aside from representing the European abrasive industry, are to promote abrasives produced in Europe, to inform members on the evolution of the regulatory framework in Europe and worldwide, to support the producers with a range of technical, legal and scientific services, and to anticipate future challenges in the abrasives sector.

    FEPA have produced a brilliant website Abrasives Safety, on this site you will find amongst other things some really useful abrasive wheel information and video clips showing correct methods of cutting, grinding etc.

    Organisation for the Safety of Abrasives (OSA)

    Grinding and cutting-off operations can present serious risks if the abrasive product is not used correctly. Mainly in the range of hand-held abrasive operations, thousands of accidents, some of them fatal occur each year and regrettably there are still no globally binding safety regulations for abrasives.

    Therefore in the year 2000, 17 leading manufacturers founded the Organisation for the Safety of Abrasives (oSa®), with the aim to enable users, dealers and purchasers to distinguish abrasives with an assured safety level from those with unknown safety. The distinctive mark is the almost globally protected oSa®-trademark.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    We often get asked for abrasive wheel information. Please find below some of the questions that we are regularly asked, if you have a question ask us and we will be happy to answer it and add it to the list.

    Who do I need to train? I thought it was only people who changed an abrasive wheel that required training?

    Under the old Abrasive Wheels Regulations 1970, there was only a requirement for people who changed an abrasive wheel to be trained. However, the Abrasive Wheels Regulations has since been superseded by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER98). PUWER has expanded the scope of training and requires that all machinery is suitable for its intended use and is properly maintained, and that employees, including those using, mounting and managing the operation of abrasive wheels, are fully informed and properly trained in their safe use. (source: HSG17).


    What is an abrasive wheel?

    An abrasive wheel is usually defined as a wheel consisting of abrasive particles bonded together with either an inorganic or organic substance. Abrasives wheels bonded with an inorganic substance tend to be suited to more precision-based cutting, whereas wheels which have been bonded using an organic substance are more suited to cutting off and fettling.

    So if I use diamond tipped wheels for cutting, it doesn’t count as an abrasive wheel and I don’t require training?

    Even though diamond wheels don’t meet this definition, they are still classed as abrasive wheels. In fact, they are actually referred to as “superabrasive” and they definitely require training.


    When am I required to complete refresher training?

    A. PUWER98 doesn’t express when you should carry out refresher training, however signs that you should participate in refresher training include: When standards are seen to be slipping. You have had a near miss or accident etc. The British Abrasives Federation (BAF) recommends participating in a refresher course every 3 years.


    If I attend abrasive wheel course does that mean I am a competent operator?

    No. It is the employer’s responsibility to deem an operator competent (only they can do this, nobody else) and appoint them in writing. To be competent you have to be trained (that’s our part), have sufficient knowledge (part us, part the employer) and be experienced. The majority of people that we train will most likely fit the competent operator criteria after they have completed the course. It is important to note that novice operators will still need to be looked after by the more experienced operators after the course.


    We hope you have found our abrasive wheel information and resource page helpful if you do have any further queries please contact us.

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