Label dust-free working

In order to be able to include a tool or vacuum cleaner in the databases of tools or vacuum cleaners, they must be tested. They are then given a dust-free working label. This can be done using two types of keys:

  • based on measurements
  • based on equivalence test

TNO-performance test for label dust-free working

TNO has developed a protocol for performing the performance test of tools and vacuum cleaners in order to arrive at the hourly label for dust-free work. The protocol describes how (hand) tools with their specific control measures during operational use can be objectively assessed for the emission of harmful substances (respirable quartz, wood dust (hardwood), asbestos, welding fumes, chromium, nickel, etc.).

The starting point for the dust-free working label is the assessment of integral tool systems, for example the tool with dust extractor hood, extraction hose and vacuum cleaner. With this test method, the exposure of employees to harmful substances is assessed in relation to the applicable limit values ​​(GSW TGG-8h). Exposure is measured during processing (drilling, sanding, grinding, sawing, etc.) of the building materials sand-lime brick, concrete, wood and other materials. This work is performed in the Test Room available at RPS in Zwolle, and concerns a relatively small workspace (15 m3).

  • The exposure during use of the respective tool or vacuum cleaner is tested at 100% duty cycle.
  • The Test Chamber is ventilated with 150 m3/hour (filtered) outside air.
  • The exposure measurements are performed in the breathing zone of the worker.
  • The measurement results are tested against the applicable limit values ​​(GSW TGG-8h) of the harmful substances mentioned. Finally, this value is converted to hour label.

Equivalence test

In addition to performing measurements in the Test Room to arrive at a performance test, a label can also be obtained through an equivalence study. TNO carries out such a comparison of equivalence based on the following principles:

Equivalent tool

An equivalent tool is a tool that produces as much or less dust when used as the tool tested by TNO. The rationale is to limit the number of tests, assuming that the untested equipment also meets the test requirements. In a product group, the product that produces the most dust is chosen. This is done on the basis of specifications such as power, speed, drill/grinding wheel diameter. This product is tested and is representative of the entire product group.

Equivalent vacuum cleaner

An equivalent vacuum cleaner is a vacuum cleaner that has the same or more extraction capacity (m3/hour) than the tested vacuum cleaner. Specifications regarding dust filters, filter cleaning, dust collection (in a vacuum cleaner bag or not) and an equal classification (L or M type vacuum cleaner) are also important when choosing a representative vacuum cleaner from a product group (to be tested by TNO). Here too, the underlying idea is to limit the number of tests. Vacuum cleaners with the same or better specifications do not have to be tested separately.

Equivalent system

When we speak of an equivalent system, this means that the tools, the extraction module, the extraction hose (diameter, length) must be equivalent. Equivalent systems are listed in the TNO performance test of the tested system.

TNO performance test included in Basic Inspection Module (BIM) quartz dust of the Dutch Labor Inspectorate

TNO has developed a Performance Test that shows how long a tool or tool in combination with a vacuum cleaner can be used without exceeding the limit value. The Dutch Labor Inspectorate calls the TNO performance test in the Basic Inspection Module (BIM) Quartz dust. During inspections, the inspector can use the performance tests of the hand tools and vacuum cleaners used to check whether the exposure to respirable crystalline quartz remains below the legal limit value of 0.075 mg/m³. If the activities are performed with equipment for which a performance test has been included and with due observance of the specific application conditions and responsible switch-on time per working day, the exposure is considered to be effectively controlled (state of the art). The employer then no longer needs to carry out an assessment of the exposure. After all, this has already been carried out by TNO for that specific activity.

Go to the Basic Inspection module Quartz

Declaration of intent

In 2013, a number of large construction companies, together with TNO and Aboma, signed the declaration of intent ‘Use dust-free tools’. This formed the starting point for a process to develop new tools, an initiative of the Dutch Labor Inspectorate and TNO. The signatories thus fulfill an exemplary function and publicly express the intention that all parties work with dust-free tools on their construction sites.