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Dust. Seemingly harmless and inconsequential, yet also one of the biggest causes of occupational ill health that we know of today. Regularly breathing construction dust has been linked to diseases like lung cancer, asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and silicosis.

Many factories and industrial processes create airborne or respirable dust particles because of their daily operations in making products, moving products and cleaning process areas. In a typical setting, only about 10% of the dust is large enough to be visible to the naked eye. Most dust particles are 5 microns or less, so small that they can’t be seen and can remain suspended in air for up to 42 hours. This means that for every piece of dust you see floating in the air there are 9 more that are too small for you to see.

Hazardous Dust


Estimated new cases of breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work each year on average over the last three years, according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey.

Excessive exposure to some types of dust has been linked to the development of health problems, such as lung cancer or asthma and increased concerns have been voiced by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and other industry bodies about the long-term effects on worker health from regular exposure to respirable dusts, such as Asbestos, Silica and Wood dust. Statistics from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in 2021 show an estimated 17,000 new cases of breathing or lung problems are caused or made worse by work each year.

In an effort to drive change, the HSE has been focusing on guidance around risks associated with dust, with a focus on construction sites, brick factories and bakeries among other industries. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 requires that employers protect workers from the hazards of respirable dusts, like wood and silica. Unannounced visits from HSE representatives during April will focus on activities involving exposure to respirable dusts including cleaning methods.

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Hazardous Dust

HSE recommends educating workers on the risks from dust and the control measures required, such as effective extraction and cleaning up with suitable equipment for the type of dust involved like an industrial vacuum that is at least M Class classification for wood dust.

What is M Class?

M class means that the dust created represents a medium risk to operators. M Class Vacuums have filters that trap over 99.9% of the dust with a grain size of under 2 microns.

Crescent Industrial offers a full range of M-Class, H-Class and Atex rated industrial vacuums, suitable for a variety of sites, including factories and constructions sites.

These can be on flexible rental deals or as an outright purchase so if you would like to find out more about how we can help you please get in touch:

Tel: 0845 33 77 695 Email:

You may also find our article on safe cleaning on building sites useful, it is on this link.