Dust extraction in our industry is often taken for granted, but is a big part of our onsite preparation works. I believe it’s more important than the actual grinding itself. Without it, we will breathe the fine silica dust which is detrimental to all waterproofing technician’s health. Whether it be new concrete or a slab that’s been down for years, we don’t actually know what levels of crystalline silica are in there.
There are so many dust extractors that have been released in a various model’s and price ranges. All of which have been specially designed to handle demands of the concrete preparation industry. It is extremely confusing to get the correct vacuum / dust extraction systems, specifically in the waterproofing industry. In waterproofing works, we are normally taking off grout, tile adhesive and various types of membrane which contain silica or worse contaminants that we don’t want in our airways. Most vacuum / dust extraction systems come with certification to Australian Standards as outlined below for M-Class or H-Class (H13).
M-Class vacuum / dust extraction systems must pass the 0.3µm DOP test that certifies they capture no less than 99.95% of dust.
H-Class (H13) vacuum / dust extraction systems must pass the 0.3µm DOP test that certifies they capture no less than 99.99% of dust.
M-Class is mostly considered the minimum requirement in most states and territories in Australia. This is for use in the concrete grinding, coring and cutting, where we are producing dust that contains high levels of crystalline silica.
H-Class is the better of the two, as it stops the release of more crystalline silica than the M-Class but is slightly more expensive to buy and service. The filters are also more expensive to replace, but the health of our waterproofing technicians is a higher priority than cost.
There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between the percentage of dust captured when comparing the H-Class and M-Class, but in 15 – 25 year’s time I think we all be thankful for doing the research and using either of these certified class vacuum / dust extraction systems.