Monthly Archives: November 2013

Only Two Weeks Left in Our Video Contest! Enter Today!

Desert Diamond Industries' Second Annual Video ContestYou have only two weeks to enter our Second Annual Video Contest! Send us video of how you use the Ductile Iron Safety Blade, Fire Rescue Safety Blade, Ductile Iron Ring Saw Safety Blade, or Safety Blade Grinder/Cutter before Dec. 9, and you could win one of the following prizes!

See the official contest rules for details.

From the Archives: Preventing Hand Injury and Increasing Hand Safety with Work Gloves

Preventing Hand Injury and Increasing Hand Safety with Work GlovesWe recently re-published a post on the importance of safety goggles. Today, we’d like to talk about the importance of work gloves to hand safety and how they prevent hand injury. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section!

Work gloves won’t protect your hands from all worksite hazards, but they will increase your hand safety and prevent hand injury from hazards like cuts, abrasion, crushing, electricity, cold, heat, and chemicals (depending on their design). In addition, work gloves can make your job more comfortable by protecting your hands from lesser complaints like minor abrasions, cuts, and temperature extremes (again, depending on their design).

Don’t take our word for it, though. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has hand safety regulations that you and your employer must follow.

According to OSHA, your employer must ensure your hand safety and protect you from hand injury by making sure that you wear appropriate work gloves whenever you’re exposed to certain workplace hazards. These hazards include severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, punctures, chemical or thermal burns, harmful heat or cold extremes, harmful substances that can be absorbed through your skin, or sharp objects. You also must wear electrically insulated work gloves and sleeves, or other protective equipment, when exposed to electrical shocks during electrical work.

You can’t wear just any work gloves, either. According to OSHA, your work gloves should fit snugly and be appropriate to your work and the hazards to which you’ll be exposed. Some examples provided by the agency include welding gloves for welding, heavy-duty rubber gloves for concrete work, and insulated work gloves and sleeves for electrical work.

In short, if you think you need gloves to prevent hand injury at your job, wear them. Not only will they make your work safer and more comfortable, but it’s also the law.

Desert Diamond Industries carries a large selection of work gloves, as well as other safety equipment.

Works Cited
“Hand and Body Protection. – 1915.157.” Hand and Body Protection. – 1915.157. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. < http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10273 >.

“Worker Safety Series – Construction.” Worker Safety Series – Construction. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2012. < http://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3252/3252.html >.

From the Archives: Restoring Your Worn Out or Glazed Over Diamond Blade

Restoring Your Worn Out or Glazed Over Diamond Blade

This article on restoring worn out and glazed over diamond blades is from our archives. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section!

There are two main reasons why your diamond blade is cutting slower or has stopped cutting: it’s either worn out or glazed over.

A worn out diamond blade should be replaced, period, end of story. You shouldn’t try to squeeze a few more feet out of a worn out blade, because a worn diamond blade is more likely to break or cause life-threatening accidents. If you’re using a Ductile Iron Safety Blade, Fire Rescue Safety Blade or Ductile Iron Ring Saw Safety Blade, see this article on Safety Blade wear patterns to see if your diamond blade is worn out.

A glazed over diamond blade, on the other hand, still has life in it and doesn’t need to be replaced. All you need to do is “dress” it by running it through an abrasive material – like asphalt, sandstone, masonry block, or a dressing stick – to restore its cutting speed.

Keep an eye on your diamond blade if it gets glazed over, though. If it glazes over again after you dress it, then your diamond blade may be too hard for the material that you’re cutting. You can dress it again if it becomes glazed over again, but repeated dressings can slow down your cutting, not to mention make your diamond blade become worn out faster. If you find yourself repeatedly dressing your diamond blade, consider getting a softer one.

So why is your diamond blade becoming glazed over? To answer that question, we first have to explain how your blade is supposed to cut.

Your diamond blade has cutting segments comprised of diamond grit mixed within a metal matrix or “bond”. When we talk about hard and soft blades, we mean the hardness or softness of this bond.

The diamond grit on the surface of the cutting segment’s bond does the cutting. All the bond does is hold the grit on the blade. Ideally, as the grit on the segment’s surface wears down during cutting, the bond wears down, too. This sheds worn surface grit and exposes fresh, sharp diamonds deeper within the cutting segment. When this process works, your diamond blade cuts at more or less the same rate throughout its life.

You run into problems, however, when the bond of your diamond blade is too hard for the material that you’re cutting. When this happens, the surface grit wears down faster than the bond. If this surface grit wears down too much, then your diamond blade becomes glazed over and stops cutting. Dressing restores the performance of your diamond blade by wearing down the bond until it sheds worn surface grit and exposes fresh diamonds.

To avoid having your diamond blade become glazed over, you should, as a rule of thumb, cut hard materials with a soft blade. That’s because soft bonds wear down faster in hard materials, allowing your blade to shed worn diamonds faster, expose fresh grit faster, and avoid becoming glazed over.

For more information, visit Desert Diamond Industries’ frequently asked questions page.

Works Cited
“Frequently Asked Questions.” Desert Diamond Industries. Desert Diamond Industries, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <http://www.desertdiamondindustries.com/faq.php>.

From the Archives: How Does a Diamond Blade or Diamond Grinder Differ from an Abrasive Blade or Abrasive Grinder?

How Does a Diamond Blade or Diamond Grinder Differ from an Abrasive Blade or Abrasive Grinder?

This article is from our archives. Let us know in the comments section if you found it helpful or interesting!

A diamond blade or diamond grinder differs from an abrasive blade or abrasive grinder in its construction. This may not sound like an important difference, but it can affect both your health and your safety.

An abrasive blade or abrasive grinder has extremely hard materials like silicon carbide and/or aluminum oxide bonded with resin and mesh into a disc. When spun at high speed, these hard materials wear away the material being worked, producing a ground surface or a cut.

This kind of construction has several disadvantages: it wears away quickly, grinds or cuts slowly and produces massive amounts of sparks during grinding or cutting. More importantly, an abrasive grinder or abrasive blade can threaten your life and your health.

An abrasive blade or abrasive grinder can endanger your life because it can shatter during grinding or cutting and spray you with fragments that can injure or even kill you. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has numerous reports of injuries and deaths caused by shattering abrasives. You can view some of these reports here, here, herehere, here, here, here, and here.

An abrasive grinder or abrasive blade can also endanger your health because it emits silicon carbide fibers during grinding or cutting. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, silicon carbide can cause a chronic lung disease called pneumoconiosis with long-term exposure, and there’s limited evidence that silicon carbide can cause lung cancer, at least in animals (PDF). Additionally, silicon carbide workers have reported increased mortality from asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumoconiosis, and lung cancer, according to OSHA.

A diamond blade or diamond grinder, on the other hand, has diamond particles attached to a steel core. Because it’s made of steel, a diamond grinder or diamond blade is generally safer than an abrasive grinder or abrasive blade and won’t shatter or emit silicon carbide fibers during cutting and grinding.

Keep in mind, however, that not all diamond blades are the same! A common kind of diamond blade has diamond cutting segments welded onto a steel core. These welds can soften and break during extended cutting. If they do, the segments can fly off and strike the operator, causing injury or death like an abrasive blade.

For this reason, you’ll want to avoid using a welded diamond blade and use a solid steel diamond blade or diamond grinder. A solid steel diamond grinder or diamond blade might bend during cutting, but it won’t break, increasing your safety. After all, you deserve to go home at the end of the day, instead of the emergency room or the morgue.

For more information, visit our FAQ page.

Works Cited after the break.

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From the Archives: Ear Plugs and Ear Muffs

Ear Plugs and Ear Muffs

This article on ear plugs and ear muffs is from our archives. Was it helpful? Let us know in the comments section!

Ear plugs and ear muffs can prevent permanent hearing loss in noisy environments. Your employer must test the noise levels in your workplace to see if they equal or exceed limits set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If they do, then your employer has to provide you with hearing protection that will reduce them below OSHA limits.

Noise and Hearing Loss

Repeated long-term exposure to loud noise can damage the nerves in your ears responsible for detecting sound. This kind of damage is permanent and can’t be fixed with hearing aids or even surgery. Loud noise can also affect your job performance, health, and even safety, because it can interfere with your ability to communicate with co-workers, induce anxiety and irritability, increase blood pressure, and just generally stress you out.

If you experience any of the following, then it may be too loud for you at your job, and you may need ear plugs or ear muffs.

  • You have to shout to talk to a co-worker at arms-length.
  • You experience temporary hearing loss after work.
  • You hear ringing or humming in your ears after work.

Hearing loss can have other causes besides noise, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), including age and medical conditions like ear infections and impacted ear wax. No matter what’s causing your hearing loss, though, you should consult an otologist (ear doctor) or otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor), who will help you manage and/or restore your hearing.

Your Employer’s Responsibilities

Sound Levels for Typical Sounds, Courtesy of OSHA

Sound Levels for Typical Sounds, Courtesy of OSHA
Use this chart to help you determine if you need ear plugs or ear muffs

OSHA measures workplace noise in A-weighted decibels (dBA), a scale that attempts to match the human ear’s sensitivity to different frequencies of sound. See the chart at left, provided by OSHA, to see the dBA levels of different noise sources.

According to OSHA, the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for noise is a time weighted average of 85 dBA over an eight-hour workday for manufacturing and service employees and 90 dBA for construction workers. You can be exposed to higher noise levels than this, but every 5 dBA increase in noise halves your permissible exposure time. For example, a construction worker can be exposed to 90 dBA of noise for up to eight hours a day, but can be exposed to 95 dBA for only four hours a day and 100 dBA for only two hours a day.

If you and your co-workers are exposed to noise equal to or greater than OSHA’s PEL, then your employer has to implement a Hearing Conservation Program. This program includes:

  • Monitoring noise levels, especially when noise levels in your workplace change.
  • Giving you a free audiogram (hearing test) within one year of being exposed to workplace noise and free audiograms every year after that.
  • Maintaining records of your audiograms as long as you work for your employer.
  • Providing you with hearing protection like ear plugs and ear muffs, especially if your audiograms reveal hearing loss or a “standard threshold shift” of 10 decibels at 2,000, 3,000 and 4,000 hertz.

Hearing Protection

Hearing protection like ear muffs and ear plugs is not an ideal solution for workplace noise, according to OSHA. However, your employer has to provide you with ear plugs or ear muffs if other measures (like using quieter equipment, placing noise sources behind barriers or taking breaks in quiet rooms) fail to reduce your noise exposure below OSHA’s PEL or if your audiograms show that you suffer from hearing loss.

According to OSHA, your employer must provide you with a choice of at least one kind of ear plugs and one kind of ear muffs. Stuffing plain cotton in your ears won’t cut it. Whatever kind of hearing protection you choose, though, it has to be comfortable and provide you with sufficient protection against hearing loss. Your employer then has to train you in its use, and you have to wear it while on the job.

Ear plugs and ear muffs must reduce noise levels below OSHA’s PEL. Your employer will probably use the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of your ear plugs or ear muffs, adjusted for your workplace, to determine this. If this adjusted NRR reduces your noise exposure below permitted levels, then your ear muffs or ear plugs are acceptable for your job.

In addition, your employer must re-evaluate your hearing protection whenever the noise levels at your workplace change. This re-evaluation could lead to your ear muffs of ear plugs being deemed inadequate.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hearing Protection

According to the AAO-HNS, ear plugs and ear muffs don’t just protect your hearing. They also do the same thing for your ears that sunglasses do for your eyes – that is, they reduce the volume of loud noises and allow you to understand speech better. As a result, ear plugs and ear muffs can increase both your safety and job performance.

They do have drawbacks, though. According to the AAO-HNS, ear plugs and ear muffs can slightly reduce your ability to understand speech if your hearing is damaged or if you already have trouble understanding speech. It’s important to wear hearing protection to prevent further loss of hearing and speech comprehension, but this is still something to keep in mind.

You may be concerned that ear muffs and ear plugs will reduce your ability to hear signs of danger, such as warnings from co-workers or the noises made by malfunctioning equipment. According to the AAO-HNS, you shouldn’t worry. Most people adjust to their ear plugs or ear muffs and can still hear these sounds while wearing them.

Desert Diamond Industries carries a large selection of ear plugs and other safety equipment.

Bibliography
“Hearing Conservation.” Hearing Conservation. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3074/osha3074.html>.

“Hearing protection. – 1926.101.” Hearing protection. – 1926.101. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10664>.

“Noise and Hearing Protection.” Noise and Hearing Protection. The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/hearingProtection.cfm>.

“Occupational Noise Exposure. – 1926.52.” Occupational Noise Exposure. – 1926.52. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10625>.

“Safety and Health Topics | Occupational Noise Exposure.” Safety and Health Topics | Occupational Noise Exposure. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/index.html>.