An independent report by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has called into question the effectiveness of tool manufacturers’ dust extraction systems.
The report, entitled ‘Assessment of dust extraction system solutions on hand-held electric diamond cutters to BS EN 50632’, examines exposure levels to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) on three different systems composing of tool, insert and vacuum unit.
System one measured 0.85 mg.m-3, system two 7.65 mg.m-3, and system three 16.55 mg.m-3 for RCS.
With RCS now classed as a carcinogen by the HSE, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations requires employers to reduce exposure to ‘as low as is reasonably practicable’.
The HSE’s Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) for RCS is 0.1mg.m-3 across an eight hour working day.
Tests were performed at the HSE laboratory from 25 February to 15 March 2019 by independent operatives.
The task involved using the diamond cutter to make a minimum of 13.2m long, 40mm deep cuts into concrete slabs following the manufacturers’ operating instructions.
The final report, which is available at https://bit.ly/2OO1r4H, was authored by HSE scientists Dominic Pocock, John Saunders and Adam Clarke.
The report was directed by Hilti as part of its ongoing dust awareness campaign, further information on which can be found at http://hilti.to/health-safety-dust-series