The best dust extraction options when sanding

By Rory Freeman

The best dust extraction option when sanding

As any professional tradesperson will assert, preparation is key to a successful finish. When a wooden substrate is adequately and properly prepared then not only does applying oils, paints and finishes become easier but there’s less likely to be a need for reworking.

Why extract dust when sanding?

By extracting dust at source, your working environment immediately becomes cleaner. It’s also safer. When working with wood, sanding produces fine dust that can enter the lungs and prove hazardous to health. If you can see dust then you can be pretty sure that you’re breathing it in too. Silica dust can cause damage to the lungs and if adequate protection is not used, it’s not uncommon for contractors to experience long-term health problems. For this reason, the HSE (Health and Saftey Executive) will also issue fine up to £2,000 if dust extraction is not used.

Pairing your sander with a dust extractor won’t just improve safety but also make your job easier by reducing the amount of time you have to spend on clean up later.

So, is dust on site dangerous?

Dust can prove a risk when consumed which is why the HSE have split dust into three levels:

  • Class ‘L’ (Low) – Dust represents a moderate risk to the operators
  • Class ‘M’ (Medium) – Dust represents a medium risk to the operators 
  • Class ‘H’ (High) – Dust represents a high risk to the operators 
What dust extraction options are available for professionals?

There are three main classes of dust extraction that align with the categories above. 

L class is suitable for dust extraction from soft wood and is considered the most fundamental and basic professional extraction method. 

M class is a step above L and is suitable for dust extraction from hard woods, concrete and brick dust.

H class extractors are suitable for carcinogenic dusts such as asbestos, formaldehyde, tar, carbon etc.

Which class of dust extraction should I use for my sanding job?

Of course, this comes down to the job in question and if you’re working with asbestos, silica or any other hazardous dust then it’s imperative that you use an H class dust extractor.

If you’re not working with hazardous materials then we’d strongly advise you use an M class dust extractor like the Mirka Dust Extractor. Class M vacuum filters trap over 99.9% of the dust with a grain size of under 2 microns and are the minimum legal requirement from the HSE. An M class dust extractor will usually feature an alarm that alerts you when suction levels have dropped. Generally speaking, most site managers will insist on M class extraction units being used.

What’s an on-tool extraction system?

A local exhaust ventilation (LEV) on-tool extraction system like the Mirka Dust Extractor will attach to your tool and work. The hood captures the dust as you work creating a safer, cleaner environment for you to work in.

If you’re still unsure what you require or want more information before making an investment then don’t hesitate to contact our sales team on 01452 525757, or fill out the form below and we can discuss your specific requirements.

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