M-Class Dust Extraction: What you need to know

M-Class Dust Extraction: What you need to know

Whether on a jobsite or woodworking in a garden shed, controlling the level of dust in the area you are working in is vital. Breathing in construction dust can have a serious impact on health and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has issued strict guidelines on how best to deal with it.

These guidelines are especially important in the current climate; knowing that the air you breathe is clear of unwanted particles will give you and the people around you additional piece of mind.

At ToolStore UK, we have a comprehensive range of dust extraction products but, before you choose one, you need to be sure it is suitable for the work you are doing. For most jobsites, M-Class dust extraction is the minimum requirement, so we explored why you need it and the products available.

Why do I need M-Class dust extraction?

Because dust is harmful. According to the HSE's 2017-18 Annual Report, there are an estimated 12,000 lung disease deaths each year linked to past exposure at work. In addition, there are an estimated 43,000 people in the UK working whilst suffering from breathing or lung problems they regard as being caused or made worse by work. Those are big numbers, especially when you think that, in 2018, there were 1,784 people killed on the roads in Britain.

Therefore, you are more than six times more likely to die from harmful dust inhalation at work than you are to die in a car crash.

What does ‘M-Class’ mean?

Dust is classified according to the risk it poses; L stands for 'Low Risk', M for 'Medium Risk' and H represents 'High Risk'. This is summarised in the table below:

Machine Type


Max. Permeability

Max. Allowable Concentration (MAC)

L-Class (Low Risk)

General dust, mixed dust, gypsum


>1mg / m³

M-Class (Medium Risk)

Soft / hard wood, silica, masonry, paint, plastic, ceramic


≥0.1mg / m³





L-Class Dust Extractors are usually the most affordable option and many tradespeople will have one in their kit. They will trap the sort of dust usually found in a traditional vacuum cleaner.

As the table shows, M-Class equipment removes 99.9% of dust from the air. In other words, it is significantly more efficient at keeping harmful particles out of the air you breathe. That isn’t necessarily because M-Class extractors have more suction, but they do have much better filters and will sound an alarm if they are becoming clogged. Many will have an anti-clogging feature; you’ll be able to hear a distinct sound as built up debris is banged clear of the filter.

Why do you need M-Class Dust Extraction?

M-Class Dust Extraction is the minimum level permitted under the current HSE guidance, particularly when working with hardwoods, board materials such as MDF, brick or concrete.

Fortunately, ToolStore UK has you covered. Our range of M-Class Dust Extractors includes machines from leading manufacturers including V-Tuf, Numatic, Makita and DEWALT. V-Tuf and DEWALT have even developed Cordless M-Class Dust Extractors, allowing greater mobility while working.

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16th March 2022

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