Why is Construction Dust such an Issue?

Construction dust is a term generally used to describe the various dusts released around a work site when processing certain materials.  Breathing in particles of silica dust (masonry or concrete) can cause significant harm when inhaled, including long-term health issues such as Asthma, COPD and even forms of Cancer.

The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) estimate that there are over 500 deaths per year due to dust inhalation within the construction industry. Silicosis, caused by Silica dust is the second biggest killer to asbestosis in the industry.

What are the common dust types created on site?

In terms of health, there are two categories in which the various dust types can be placed into. These are;

Inhalable dust

Which refers to airborne particles that are breathed into the airways and then deposited in the respiratory tract.

and Respirable Dust.

Which refers to finer dust particles that penetrate deep into the lungs.


The key dust types that are created on site when processing materials include:

Silica Dust 

Created when working with Concrete, Clays, Masonry, Mortar and Sandstone.

Non-silica Dust

Created when working with Gypsum, Limestone and Marble.

Wood Dust

Created when working on materials such as Hard Woods (Ash, Beech, chestnut), Soft Woods (Cedar, Fir, Pine), MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) and Engineered Board (Plywood and Chipboard).


How can dust extractors help and what do the classes mean?

With such high figures of harm based around dust within construction, it is no surprise that companies such as Bosch and Makita have created dust extractors to help reduce the affects of these particles.

On many of these extractors there are Grades of dust extraction which may appear confusing at first but they are all relatively simple to understand. The three main grades are “L” (Low), “M” (Medium) and “H” (High).



L-Class extractors are regarded as ‘entry-level’ with dust extraction and M-Class being the next step up. H-Class extractors are specifically designed for environments with highly carcinogenic dusts.

You can broadly separate them in terms of application, as follows:

L Class – for soft woods and solid surface material such as Corian.

M Class – for hard woods, board materials, concrete and brick dust.

H Class – for protection against carcinogenic dusts, such as lead, carbon, tar, nickel, cobalt, copper and cadmium.

It is important to note that M-Class Extractors are now the minimum legal requirement when working with;

Brick, Masonry, Tile, Concrete, Timber, MDF, Gravel, Plastic composites, Flint, Quartz, and Liquid materials containing sand.

For further information please visit the HSE website.

Which dust extractors are available at Toolfix?

Here at Toolfix we have a range of Dust Extractors from top brands including the Makita Wet & Dry 42L Class “M” Dust Extractor.

We’re here to help…

As always, we are here to help, not just fulfil orders.

Discover and shop our range online at toolfixservices.com, or if you’d prefer to speak directly with our knowledgeable sales team, please get in touch on 01733 347348.


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