On-tool Dust Extraction

This edition of Concepts focuses on how to reduce airborne dusts generated by hand-held power tools.

Hand-held power tools such as grinders, sanders and cutters are used extensively throughout the manufacturing and construction industries. The dust emissions from these activities can exceed the workplace exposure limits set by the HSE and could consequently lead to occupational diseases such as cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.

Airborne emissions have historically been dealt with by ensuring that the worker wears a respirator (RPE) or that large fixed hoods are fitted near to the activity. Respirators are now deemed unsuitable as a means of control by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and there has since been a drive towards using local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems to control the dusts. The problem with traditional LEV systems is that they are not always mobile (able to follow the activity), or require large amounts of air to capture the dusts.

MECHON has been working with industry to develop on-tool extraction technology, which has the ability to capture more than 90% of dusts while allowing the worker to remain fully mobile. The technology relies on specialised hoods on the hand-tools and connected through small diameter hoses to a high vacuum dust extraction and filtration unit. The advantage of such a system is that the filter unit can incorporate continuous and automated cleaning, such that there is never a loss in airflow at the tool.

Field studies have also shown that as workers become more familiar with the technology, they are able to accept the ergonomics of the on-tool hoods and continue to improve dust control themselves over time.

MECHON are proven experts in the design and installation of centralised on-tool extraction systems. Our strength lies in the ability to link a large number of vacuum points to one single filter collection unit – for ease of disposal and reduced use of floor space.

MECHON are happy to offer a free initial consultation to ensure that your processes and people are fully protected at all times.