My 14 year old daughter came home the other day with a little wooden
'project' she had made at school in DT.
It looks like it was made from 6mm thick MDF and I asked her if anyone
was required to wear a face mask whilst cutting it and apparently no
Now I don't *think* this was a real safety issue but should they have
worn masks (officially?).
All the best ..
T i m
And is a "Hegna Saw" any good? (never heard of it till my daughter
mentioned using one)
MDF dust is certainly not good for the health and there are maximum
exposure limits defined in the COSHH rules.
There are supposed to be risk assessments and exposure is supposed to
be minimised and certainly below MEL.
Certainly if you were sanding MDF or cutting it with power tools in a
confined space with no form of dust extraction, then a face mask is
important. You have dust and formaldehyde fumes to contend with.
However, for cutting small pieces very occasionally using hand tools
is not likely to create that much of a problem.
You might want to ask the craft teacher whether a risk assessment has
been done or which guidelines they are following. I don't that this
is worth making a big fuss about, but it may be worth raising the
issue just in case they haven't considered it.
There is no question that many hardwood dusts are a lot more harmful
However, the HSE rates all wood dusts equally in terms of MEL, so this
throws up question marks.
Certainly one should not take wood dust protection lightly
Yes, but has been known to affect those allergic to formaldhyde.
Because the exposure level is likely to be small in this case.
If they were using power sanders or powered cutting tools it would be
sensible to have some dust extraction and possibly disposable masks.
I don't think that this is a 'conkers' argument but agree that that is
Does COSHH and the HSAW Act apply to <pupils> at <schools>? It certainly
didn't to start off with, and I recall that some years ago there was a
hurried Regulation published to extend COSHH (I think) to technical
colleges, but I can't remember schools being mentioned.
There is never any blanket need "to wear masks". There is a
requirement to reduce exposure to an appropriate level. If you can
achieve this by ventilation appropriate to the dust source being
generated, then you don't need to mask up as well.
A scroll saw is a narrow kerf saw, cutting a small amount of material
and without distributing it into an aerosol. It's also usual for
scroll saws to have built-in dust blowers which can direct this dust
away from the operator.
I'd have no hesitation in scrollsawing MDF without a mask. Under some
conditions I'd even run it through a sawbench (mine only has gravity
dust control) because that too is a reasonably low-dust process. For
routing though it's quite a different situation - lots of dust, and
it's sprayed right up at the operator.
Hegener. They're definitely high end scrollsaws (although the paint
flakes off in great patches). To be honest, any scrollsaw will work
pretty well. The only real benefits of a Hegener are lower vibration
and a motor that doesn't mind running for 8 hours continuously.
Hi all and thanks for the replies and info.
I wasn't 'worried' as such by my daughters exposure to the MDF dust (I
guessed the levels would be pretty low) I just wondered (knowing how
cautious educators were these days) if they should?
I'm lucky that I'm not allergic to anything I know of and can work
with stuff like glass fibre with no reaction. Howevrer if I feel I'm
being surrounded by 'floating' particulates I will either ensure I
breathe through my nose and shallow breathe, get out of the area till
the dust settles or get a mask ;-)
Out of interest I have been using one of those aggressive wire brushes
(twists of coat hanger sized wire on an angle grinder) to de-rust
various items re my kitcar 'upgrade' and that dust seems to get
everywhere and hangabout a bit?
Any particular (no pun intended) risk with this type of dust please?
All the best ..
T i m
I know alll about that Jerry .. one took more layers of skin off my
knee than I knew I had .. in about 20mS .. (ouch) ;-(>
What, as opposed to eating or injecting it ? (I thought Iron was good
for us <g>). Well, no, I don't think I wan't to breath anything other
than 'air', but I wasn't aware of it being particularly hazardous?
All the best ..
T i m
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