Get the lowdown on M Class Dust Extraction from the Toolstop Blog. We run you through the importance of m class dust extraction on the job site and some of the top products we have available.
What is M Class Dust Extraction?
Controlling dust is imperative on every job site since the HSE in the UK has laid down more stringent guidelines. This isn’t just for the sake of it. Dust is harmful. It’s as simple as that. And M Class Dust Extractors are the answer.
From October 4th, 2021, the Health and Safety Executive are buckling down on construction firms to check that their health standards are up to scratch.
Don’t make the same mistake as construction workers who have not realised the health risks of exposure to dust and have worked unprotected. Make sure you are aware of the risks and know what to do to stay safe.
In this Toolstop Guide we’re going to cover M Class dust extraction and answer 3 important questions:
- Why do I need M Class Dust Extraction
- What is M Class Dust Extraction?
- M Class Dust Extraction – What equipment is available?
DUST KILLS. NOT TODAY. BUT YEARS DOWN THE LINE.
Dust is a silent and sometimes invisible threat that can take years to show visible damage, which can then be too late.
Why do I need M Class Dust Extraction?
Dust particles can be 100 times smaller than a grain of sand. You don’t need to see them to breathe them in.
The HSE published figures which states that around 8000 people each year in the UK alone lose their life due to cancer caused by inhaling hazardous dust particles. Every week, construction workers die from lung diseases caused by exposure to dust. In addition, around 39,000 people each year suffer from respiratory health issues due to inhaling dust particles. Let’s put that first number into perspective: in the UK in 2015, 1732 people were killed in road traffic accidents. Therefore, you’re almost 5 times more likely to die from harmful dust inhalation at work than you are in a car crash.
To quote the HSE’s guidelines on dust control:
"Regularly breathing construction dust can cause diseases like lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD – which includes emphysema and other breathing difficulties) and silicosis. Silica is the second biggest killer of construction workers after asbestos."
As if these shocking numbers weren’t enough of a deterrent, the HSE will issue fines of up to £2000 where insufficient dust control isn’t being used.
Did you know, you are almost 5 times more likely to die from a respiratory illness due to dust inhalation than in a car crash?!
Exposure to dust can lead to severe breathing difficulties and lung diseases that can ruin lives and cause an early death. It can take years before the damage is visible and by then it can be too late. When assessing how to reduce the risk of dust, it’s important to assess what tasks cause the most dust. According to the HSE:
"Some of the most common construction jobs create high dust levels. Because these jobs often involve the use of power tools like cut-off saws, grinders, breakers and sanders. Therefore there is a legal duty for employers to prevent or adequately control worker exposure to construction dust. On-tool extraction is an effective control for this dust and will reduce the risk of ill health."
Sanding, drilling in masonry, regular drilling and more all require efficient dust extraction to be used, and it isn't just to keep the place tidy (though this is an added benefit). Let’s consider the difference between the classes of dust extraction and why opting for a Class M dust extractor is the way to go.
What Does M Class Dust Extraction mean?
When you’re choosing a dust extractor, paying attention to the classification of the filter system is important. In the UK there are 3 classes in this regard:
- L Class: ≤ 1.0% Dusts with maximum allowable concentrations (MAC) > 1 mg/m³
- M Class: < 0.1% Dusts with maximum allowable concentrations (MAC) ≥ 0.1 mg/m³
- H Class: < 0.005% Dusts with maximum allowable concentrations (MAC) < 0.1 mg/m³
But what is the difference between each class rating of dust extractor and which is best?
The L, M and H stand for Low, Medium and High, respectively.
L Class dust extractors are usually the most affordable option, and it can make sense for many tradespeople to decide to pick one up for their kit. L Class is fine for when you only work on soft wood, as L Class is virtually what’s found in a typical domestic vacuum cleaner. They’re designed for trapping the sort of dust that won’t do you any harm in the long run.
As you can see, though, from the figures above, M Class traps – i.e. doesn’t allow back out into the air – 99.9% of dust. In other words, it’s significantly more efficient at keeping harmful dust particles from entering back out into the air you breathe. An M Class extractor won’t necessarily have a higher rate of suction than an L Class one, but the filtration system is more efficient, and the unit will sound an alarm when the filter is becoming clogged. This way you will always be on top of emptying the tank.
A key feature to look for when choosing an M Class dust extractor is an anti-clogging function. You’ll notice this working to help prevent the filter from clogging up; listen for a distinct banging sound as the filter is internally “thumped” to de-clog it.
M Class dust extraction is the minimum rating allowed on site by HSE guidelines. M Class dust extractors are vital for use with hardwoods, board materials like MDF or when working on brick or concrete. The latter two, in particular, require M Class extraction as the minimum allowed level of dust control per the HSE’s guidelines.
H-Class extractors mean 'high hazards' and are usually used for higher hazardous dusts which pose a more serious health risk. Examples include carcinogenic dusts such as lead, carbon, tar, nickel, cobalt and copper.
It is very important to use a rated vacuum cleaner. This ensures the safe collection, capture and dispose of harmful dust. Unrated vacuum cleaners can make the problem worse by exhausting large amounts of respirable dust, once it has bypassed the filtration system and motor. This dust goes back into the breathing space of the operator and can remain airborne for up to 8 hours.
Why Do I Need M Class Dust Extraction?
If you can see dust, chances are you're breathing it in. Exposure to harmful dust can cause serious long term damage, it's as simple as that. That is why we stress the importance of Class M dust extraction.
Unrated vacuum cleaners are extremely dangerous and can make the problem worse as respirable dust can pass through the motor and be pumped back into the air. This dust then remains airborne for up to 8 hours, where it can be inhaled directly into your lung chamber, where it will remain forever. Approximately 700 people in the UK die every year due to illness relating to the inhalation of respirable dust. Needless to say, this dust also damages your vacuum motor.
Rated vacuum cleaners ensure the safe collection, capture and disposal of harmful dust.
M Class Dust Extraction – What Equipment is Available?
At Toolstop we stock a huge variety of dust extractors to keep you safe, as well as keep the workspace tidy. You can find L Class, M Class, H Class and regular domestic vacuum cleaners all available for next working day delivery. Below we have highlighted 3 of our top picks for M Class Dust Extractors for you to take a look at their main features and benefits.
There are also a lot of additional vacuum accessories available on the market today that make dust extraction a whole lot easier. Many tools these days feature built-in dust ports that allow you to connect your vacuum directly to your power tool, or power take off which powers up your dust extractor as soon as you operate your tool. Both of these features are great additions as they eliminate harmful dust from entering the air.
The V-TUF M CLASS MINI helps you tackle dust at the source. Connect it directly to your power tools or sweep up and enjoy a dust-free environment. It is M-Class Rated, the ‘Minimum Requirement’ for construction sites. The new M CLASS MINI is a keystone that helps V-TUF achieve its mission: To save and improve the lives of those in their line of duty. Ideal for: Construction & woodworking Industries.
- H13 HEPA rated filter, enabling 99.9% filtration efficiency for compliant and safe dust extraction
- Built in extraction velocity monitor works tirelessly to guarantee you optimum suction and airflow
- Alarm sounds to alert you of any blockages or potential reduction in airflow pressure
- Lightweight and compact design for ease of transport and use
- Automatic filter shaker and washable filters
- Saves required clean up time at the end of a project
- Motor Power: 800W
- Suction Lift Power: 2400mm / 18KPA (180MBAR)
- Air Flow: 205 M3/H
- Tank Size: 15 litres
- Filtration: M CLASS
- Noise (dB9A)): 76
- Class M extraction meets HSE Construction site regulations to capture microscopic harmful dust particles including silica and MDF dust
- 99.95% capture high performance H13 Pleated HEPA Filter System traps dust as fine as 0.3 microns and above
- 1500W auto start power take off allows the extractor to auto start when a power tool is connected with 3–5 second run on delay to clear residual debris
- Suitable for wet and dry applications with auto stop function when liquid capacity is reached
- Shake down function clears fine dust build up from the filter to maintain efficient suction power
- Large dust bag capacity captures bigger particles for increased efficiency and safe disposal
- Power input: 1200 watt
- Dust category: M Class
- Tank capacity: 25L dry, 17L wet
- Sound pressure: Lpa - 82 dB(A)
- Max suction: 160 mbar
- Flow rate: 23 l/s
- The H13 HEPA filter is M-Class rated and provides up to 99.9% filtration efficiency
- Reduces the presence of harmful dust and particulates in your working environment
- Large 30 litre tank for longer, more efficient working
- Synchronised power tool take off means the vacuum will automatically start up when your power tool is connected and in use
- Suitable for both wet and dry applications
- Suction Lift Power: 2800mm / 25kpa (250mbar)
- Weight: Nett: 7.5kg (Gross: 12kg Package Weight)
- Rating: M-Class H13 HEPA Filtration
- Motor Power: 1400w
- Cable Length: 5m
Dust Extraction Update - October 2021
HSE are visiting construction sites across GB throughout October 2021. Sites of all types and sizes will be visited to check that appropriate measures are in place to protect workers’ lung health from exposure to dust. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect the health of their workers. Failure to pass the inspection could lead to heavy consequences.
Conclusion - The Reality of Class M Dust Extractors
Across the EU, guidelines, rules and regulations are in place to help reduce the number of yearly fatalities due to the inhalation of harmful dust particles. Because your health matters more than speed or convenience and as a result, owning and using an M Class filter is imperative. It’s the law if you work on site, and it’s just good common sense for everyone else, particularly when working on brick or concrete. Take a look below at some of our must have dust extractors and vacuum cleaners at Toolstop. From domestic household use to industrial vacuum cleaning, we have the solution for you!