Dust from many materials is harmless and causes no permanent damage. Even so, this dust can make working conditions difficult and unpleasant, which can affect productivity. The dust from some materials, however, can be harmful and cause diseases such as lung cancer, silicosis, kidney disease and toxic poisoning as a result.
It is mainly the size of the particles that are of most concern. This because they can penetrate the body´s defence system and reach the oxygen transfer areas in the lungs. An efficient general ventilation system will reduce the number of particles in the air - but there is more we can do to help create a healthier work environment.
There are several methods of ensuring that the operator is not exposed to dust when using hand-held tools in, for example, grinding, cutting, drilling and chipping operations.
- A workbench can have extraction openings connected to a strong vacuum source.
- A movable extraction hood can be used and the tool itself can be fitted with an extraction system.
- In extreme cases, the operator can wear breathing apparatus as additional protection.
Of all the dust collection methods, dust extraction on the tool itself is by far the most efficient as the collection is at the point of the dust creation. This not only ensures very efficient extraction but also requires less airflow. Almost any tool can be fitted with this type of manifold.