Do You Know the Dangers of D

By Peter Brett The Problem A hundred years ago coal miners knew about the dangers of black coal dust in

their lungs, and more recently the dangers of asbestos have been well publicised, but it has still taken us years to recognise that there are other dangerous dusts. Finally, we have regulation and legislation concerning dusts, but there is still a lot of confusion amongst people on the ground about how to deal with it. Sadly, almost weekly, I still see examples of workers not even taking basic precautions, like a dust mask, when using machines. Who should take responsibility? Employers, employees or individuals? And what counts as an adequate response to dust in various situations? We are still working some of this out at the moment – especially for one-man bands. In factories and bigger workplaces the rules and responsibilities are much clearer. Some of the statistics concerning dust are quite shocking. Each year in the UK

over 500 construction workers die from the effects of silica dust, and over 1300 die from occupational lung disease and cancer. More seriously, over 8,000 die from dust-related conditions. The construction industry is by far over-represented in these statistics because it has been calculated that construction dust makes up 4%

of total UK dust emissions. Almost all trades – plumbers, bricklayers, carpenters etc – encounter dust at work on a regular basis and this helps explain why over 40% of occupational cancer deaths are in the trades. And it costs, too – over £1.1 billion is lost on workplace injury and poor health

in the construction industry, with over 2.3 million working days lost due to fatalities and serious illness. I don’t want to be a harbinger of doom, because, in fact, the UK construction

industry has become a much safer place to work in the last ten years or so. This is largely due to the widespread introduction of Health and Safety representatives on worksites and the adoption of safer working practices, but since we seem to be winning the wider safety battle, it is surely time to focus on dust as well. We can’t be complacent – the statistics tell us that since 2013 over 42,000 people have reported suffering from work-related breathing or lung problems in the UK. What counts as Dust The definition of dust is quite specific for the purposes of legislation and

industries – it is particles of a material ranging from 1 to 1,000 microns in size. But there is a further definition to take on board. Total inhalable dust is up to 100 microns in size and can be inhaled right into the respiratory tract. Respirable dust

Multi-Purpose Rectangular Sanding Plates from National Abrasives Take Your Pick for a Job Well Done

Independent Review

by Peter Brett

Piece by piece in the last few months, we at ToolBUSINESS+HIRE Magazine have been revealing the sanding system developed in partnership with and marketed by National Abrasives. Starting with the round and rectangular pole sanders, each new component has added to the versatility of the system.

So, this month we have the rectangular sanders to look at. I was sent four samples and a variety of sanding sheets so that I could explore just how versatile the extra components added to the system are.

Aimed at: Amateurs and professionals who need efficient, quick sanding of flat surfaces. Pros: Cost effective, easy to use and versatile on a pole or by hand

has come on so well that it seems like a no brainer to me. However, when I was working with some decorators last week they said they preferred clips. I guess choice is the name of the game. On the clip versions of the sanding plates there is a thin sheet

of padded hard foam rubber on the base of the plate, to provide a bit of ‘give’ needed in some sanding situations where the sanded surface is a bit more sensitive. The clips are also a much better design than the tedious spring clips I am used to on some sanders. The plate has a series of six small spikes that pierce the sanding sheet as it is pulled over – and then, before your fingers get spiked, the clip is brought down until it engages. My experience was that these clips didn’t fail and the sanding sheet stayed firmly in place however hard you pressed them to the sanding surface. The other option on the sole plate was a simple sheet of hook-

and-loop straight onto the rigid base of the sander. Again, the handle/universal joints were interchangeable in seconds, but this rigid base is good for sanding stubborn lumps of filler into submission when trying to get a flat surface to the wall. Or indeed, it is equally at home sanding a flat sheet of timber/ply or whatever. Having used some of the

other accessories on the round wall sander, I am pleased to see that the washable sponge and cloths have been catered for with these sanding plates. I am converted to the use of the hook-and-loop-backed sponge for wiping down after initial sanding, and the microfibre cloth is a must for every serious

As I have come to expect, the quality of the sanding plates is very high. Made

from yellow nylon plastic they are rigid and will not distort even under the pressure of pole sanding. As is common with the round and corner sanders we looked at earlier, the handles are interchangeable. It takes just a few seconds to swap from the nicely grippy D handle to a universal joint into which the professional, (and excellently rigid) glass fibre pole can be screwed. There is also currently a choice between methods of holding the abrasive to the plates – hook-and-loop or clips. I am not such a fan of clips, and hook-and-loop


decorator and builder. The sponge is also used for tiling and grout removal, making this a great multi-purpose tool. These rectangular plates all add up to

valuable additions to the Multi-Purpose Sander System. The good thing is it won’t cost a fortune to add these to a set – and all the bits are compatible!

To see a video demonstration with this review, scan the QR code which will take you through to the ToolBUSINESS+HIRE website.

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