Controlling Hazardous Dust
From timber to construction dust, these tips from Festool will help you show dust who’s boss
When it comes to dust, it’s important to look at the full picture.
Minimising dust created in the first place reduces the amount of dust to capture, which reduces the amount of dust to dispose of.
Dust extraction specialists, Festool, have some tips to help you control dust from start to finish.
But before we get stuck in, it’s worth mentioning that for all compliance and safety advice, you must consult your local Worksafe group. It’s also a good idea to check with any site managers about dust extraction requirements as these can vary site-to-site.
1 – Minimise Dust Created
There are a few things you can do to minimise dust created:
- Use high quality tools and blades / discs that give cleaner cuts
- Use track saws to prevent the need to re-cut and ensure pure, straight cuts
- Use a sacrificial backing board when cutting particularly dusty materials
- Use on-tool extraction to suck dust directly from the surface
A good example is an often-forgotten but important feature on the Festool TS 55 plunge saw. The clear window in front of the blade should be pushed right down to the surface before cutting so it can block any chips escaping.
Another example is when using a router like the OF 1400, to ensure the chip deflector is attached and correctly positioned for maximum dust capture.
2 – Efficient Dust Capture & Filtration
Catch dust more efficiently by doing these things:
- Use a high-quality dust extractor with plenty of sucking power and enough capacity
- Ensure your dust extractor hose diameter matches the type of dust you’re extracting for smooth flow
- Use anti-static hoses on your dust extractor to avoid energy build up that can cause short circuiting
- Maintain your suction power by regularly replacing your filter (DO NOT bang it on a hard surface to clean it as it can destroy the filter fibres)
- Use a Cyclone pre separator to reduce the load on your filter and bag and ensure smoother extraction
Festool M Class dust extractors have been tested by Occupational Hygienists on materials such concrete and Hebel with the results proving that they operate well below the exposure limits for hazardous dust. Watch how the testing was done here.
And if you don’t have an extractor handy, using a dust bag on your saw still makes a difference and reduces your cleanup.
3 – Safe Removal of Dust
What good is catching dust if it goes everywhere when you get rid of it? Here are some tips to control dust exposure when emptying your extractor:
- Use bags that can be easily locked off and sealed when removing
- Bag your old filters when changing them to avoid exposure
- Use tear-resistant bags for safe transportation of dust off-site
Festool bags have these attributes, ensuring easy and safe dust disposal.
Dust exposure is dangerous and needs to be taken seriously. It’s not just for you either, but the other tradies around you and even your clients. Dust masks and a fan don’t cut it.