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Dust management and prevention

Workplace Dust and Respiratory Risks

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What are the hazards of dust in the workplace?

Abrasive processes (sanding, grinding, cutting, etc.) remove material from the work-piece resulting in the generation of dust particles. Further dust is generated from the wear of the abrasive material itself. Dust in the air can be hazardous to operators through contact with exposed skin or eyes, and especially by inhalation.

Inhalable and respirable dust particles are tiny and often invisible to the naked eye, but they can have the biggest impact on the health of your workers as they can travel deeper into the lungs. Exposure can trigger short and long term health problems such as inflammation of the respiratory system and allergic reactions such as occupational asthma. Breathing problems resulting from dust exposure is not always instant and can take several years to develop.

  • Health and Safety eBook

    Dust management and prevention

    It is best practice to put into place control methods that take into account all the dust hazards and controls to minimise risks. Dust control systems such as dust extraction systems can be used to divert dust from operators.

    The chioice of abrasives used in the workplace can also impact the dust levels in the workplace. Switching to high performance abrasives help to reduce dust exposure as they cut faster allowing jobs to be completed faster with less disc wear.

    Where adequate control of exposure cannot be achieved by other control methods, it is necessary to provide operators with appropriate and suitable personal protection equipment.

  • How 3M products can help reduce dust in the workplace

    The Precision Shaped Ceramic Grain used in 3M™ Cubitron™ II abrasives slices quickly and cleanly through the workpiece material, producing larger chips (swarf) and less finer dust than conventional abrasivies. The faster cutting action of the mineral helps to complete jobs faster and can help to reduce the duration of the exposure to workplace dust.

    3M™ Cubitron™ II abrasives are highly durable which means less wheel wear, therefore reducing the level of dust from the abrasive itself. Switching from a conventional bonded wheel to a Cubitron™ II fibre disc can help reduce this type of further dust further, simply due to the different construction of the disc.


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Workplace Hazards

  • What is Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV)?

    The use of hand-held abrasive tools, or bench-mounted tools and hand-held workpieces can expose the operator to vibration and can lead to harmful conditions.

    Minimise the risks by using the right abrasives that finish demanding tasks faster, with less pressure.

    Hand-Arm Vibration

  • What can I do to improve noise protection in the workplace?

    The selection of abrasive tools, products and systems have a significant impact on the noise generated when operating tools.

    Switching abrasive products can be one way to help reduce abrasive noise levels.

    Noise protection

  • How can I reduce injury hazards in the workplace?

    Working with abrasive equipment can cause injury by direct or indirect contact. Always use machine guards, use the right product for the application, ensure the abrasive is fitted correctly and wear appropriate PPE.

    Faster cutting and cooler running abrasives that require less operator pressure can help towards a safer workplace.

    Injury protection


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Dust prevention resources:

  • E-Book
    Abrasives Health and Safety eBook

    Download our eBook today for insights into managing workplace hazards.

    Download eBook

    Dec 1, 1901
  • Case Study
    Bombardier Case Study

    Learn how 3M is helping to deliver safety and productivity at Bombardier

    Access Case Study

    Dec 1, 1901
  • Posters
    Using Abrasives Safety Posters

    Keep your workers up to speed on safety with our informative posters

    Download Posters

    Dec 1, 1901
  • Abrasive Safety Assessment Guide
    Abrasive Safety Assessment Guide

    Download our abrasive safety assessment guide today for insights on how 3M™ Cubitron™ II hand-held abrasives could help reduce exposure to the risks from hand-arm vibration, airborne particles and noise.

    Download Guide

    Dec 1, 1901

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Cubitron™ II abrasives products


Need help finding the right abrasive product?

Get in touch with a 3M expert

We are interested in helping you decide which industrial abrasive products work best for your application. A 3M abrasive expert will contact you to ensure you're getting the product you need to get your job done right.

If you would like to speak to us about product and technical support questions, please call 0870 504 8772 or email abrasives.uk@mmm.com

If you would like to speak to us about product and technical support questions, please call 0870 504 8772 or email abrasives.uk@mmm.com

To learn more on how to maximise safety in your workplace, click here.

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