How to protect yourself from dust in the workshop

How to protect yourself from dust in the workshop

Autumn is here! We know many of our customers will be heading back into their workshops after enjoying their summer. This is a good time to check your equipment before you start using it. Especially your safety equipment - replace your filters and empty your extractors to ensure you are safe for the new season.

Did you know that there is new legislation in place regarding respiratory masks?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)(1):

  • There are currently approximately 12,000 lung disease deaths each year estimated to be linked to past exposures at work
  • About 41,000 people who worked in the last year, and 147,000 who had ever worked currently have breathing or lung problems they thought were caused or made worse by work (Labour Force Survey)(2)
  • Each year there are currently an estimated 18,000 new cases of breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work (LFS) (2)

(1) | (2)

Whether you are a hobbyist, a small business or a large corporation, we want you to be safe. Below are the different ways in which you can protect yourself depending on how you are working. You will learn about the different types of face masks available and how to select the right one for your needs.

What is RPE and when should you use it?

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is a particular type of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to protect the wearer from breathing in harmful substances. It is available in different sizes to allow for the facial differences of workers.

There are many different RPE types designed to:

  • protect the wearer from a variety of hazards;
  • suit a variety of work situations;
  • match the specific requirements of the wearer.

Work activities may result in harmful substances contaminating the air in the form of dust, mist, vapour, gas or fume. For example, when:

  • cutting a material such as stone or wood;
  • using a product containing volatile solvents;
  • handling a dusty powder.

Respirators (face masks)

Respirators (filtering devices) use filters to remove contaminants from the air being breathed in. They can be either:

  • non-powered respirators – relying on the wearer’s breathing to draw air through the filter; or
  • powered respirators – using a motor to pass air through the filter to give a supply of clean air. 

Non-powered respirators

We have all gotten used to wearing a face mask in more recent times. If you are working in any environment with airborne dust, we would suggest a face mask with a classification of at least FFP2 but ideally FFP3.

JSP SpringFit Disposable Dust Protection FFP3 with Typhoon Valve

The JSP SpringFit Disposable Dust Protection FFP3 with Typhoon Valve is a new and improved fold-flat disposable mask that offers unrivalled security and comfort. The unique endoskeleton structure provides a snug and secure fit, while the abundance of features maximises compatibility and performance. The Typhoon valve is designed to reduce breathing resistance, heat and moisture build-up, and can be used in very low temperatures. The fold-flat design makes SpringFit more compact and easily pocketed, and it is individually packed to ensure a high level of hygiene.

Powered respirators

If you are working for long periods of time in a dusty environment, such as sanding at a lathe or using sanding machines, then a powered respirator is a more efficient solution. These are generally more comfortable to wear, especially if you need glasses or have facial hair.

What is APF (Assigned Protection Factor)?

An Assigned Protection Factor (APF) of 10 means that the wearer will only breathe in one-tenth or less of the amount of substance present in the air. The higher the APF the less contaminant you will breathe in.

Trend Airshield Pro Powered Respirator

If you're looking for reliable, battery-powered respiratory protection for use with all woodworking applications, then the Trend Airshield Pro is ideal. This powered respirator offers an Assigned Protection Factor of APF20 as well as an optical class 1B3 rating making it ideal for protection from high-speed particles. The Airshield Pro features a combination of face seal and hood to improve protection, as well as a motor that's positioned away from the sensitive area of the forehead to reduce noise and irritation. Plus, there's an audible low battery warning and a removable 8-hour Ni-MH battery for your convenience. This respirator comes equipped with twin filters that boast an efficiency of 98%.

JSP Powercap Active IP Powered Respirator

The JSP Powercap Active IP Powered Respirator is a high-performance respirator that offers effective protection against dust and airborne particulate pollutants. Featuring a lightweight and firm-fitting design, this respirator is comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Additionally, the Powercap Active IP comes with an impact face shield and bump cap protection, making it ideal for use in environments where there is a risk of flying particles. With an Assigned Protection Factor of APF10, this respirator provides reliable protection against harmful airborne contaminants.

Replacement filters are available for both of these units, and before usage, you should check to see if they need replacing.

Air filtration system

When working in a dusty environment, it is essential to wear a face mask or powered respirator to protect your lungs. If you plan to remove your face covering in a dusty environment, we would recommend using an air filtration system. These systems work by drawing air through a filter, trapping the dust particles and preventing them from being inhaled. Air filtration systems are an effective way to protect your lungs from dust, and they can be used in conjunction with face masks or respirators for even better protection.

Record Power AC400 Two Stage Air Filter 

The Record Power AC400 Two Stage Air Filter with Remote 3 Speeds and Time Delay is an effective two-stage filtration unit for workshops up to 113m3. It features pocket filters to provide filtration down to 1 micron, 3 speeds, and a timer function so you can leave the air filter unit to run for a set period of time after you have finished in the workshop. The remote control included with the machine allows you to control both the speed and timer function. The unit is supplied with mounting hooks and chains for installation.

Regulations and responsibilities of an Employer

Employers now have a legal responsibility under new Regulations to control substances hazardous to health in your workplace, and to prevent and adequately control exposure to those substances. Provision of RPE may be necessary as part of the control regime. You can find out more about responsibilities as an employer here.

Other forms of protection

It is important to not only protect yourself from contaminants in the air but also your ears from hazardous noise levels and your eyes from high-speed particles.

We offer a range of options for both eye and ear protection, below are a few pieces of equipment that we recommend.

Ear Protection

Sonis 1 Ear Defenders SNR27 80-107 dB Made in EnglandYandles Sonis C Ear Defenders SNR32 107-112dB Made in England

Sonis 1 Ear Defenders SNR27 80-107 dB / Sonis 1 Ear Defenders SNR32 107-112 dB

These custom-made ear defenders are designed by the JSP team for Yandles and offer optimum protection and comfort. The over moulded headband has a built-in comfort area with ventilation to help reduce heat build-up, while the headband force and the sealing ring surface area work together to provide a good fit. The small compact cups offer medium attenuation of either 80-107dB or 107-112dB with a rating of SNR 27 dB(A) and SNR 32 dB(A) respectively, making them perfect for use in a variety of settings.

Eye Protection

JSP Stealth 16g Clear K & N Rated Anti-Mist Safety Glasses

The JSP Stealth 16g Clear K & N Rated Anti-Mist Safety Glasses are the world's lightest safety eyewear, weighing in at just 16g. These next-generation glasses feature ultra-thin and ultra-strong optically perfect lenses that are moulded using the latest technology to deliver a thinner lens that meets the EN166 1.F requirements.

JSP Galactus Clear Premiershield Mist Resist Safety Glasses

The JSP Galactus Clear Premiershield MistResist Safety Glasses are designed to provide you with maximum protection and comfort while you work. The ultra-light frame weighs only 30g, making it comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The Premiershield polycarbonate lens offers a wide field of vision, and the anti-scratch and anti-mist coatings help to keep your vision clear. The adjustable TPE-covered nose piece provides improved comfort and security, and the ergonomically designed arms offer stability and comfort. These safety glasses conform to the PPE Regulation 2016/425.

29th September 2022

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