OSHA compliance for silica dust can be a real bear. We recently had a chance to talk to Jim Bohn, Director of Strategic Development for Bosch Tool Corporation, about some of the finer, more obscure points surrounding the issue of keeping OSHA compliant in all situations.
Today, we’re looking at the possible issues surrounding swapping out one manufacturer’s attachments for another’s. In a perfect world, we might own the whole stable of Bosch masonry tools and dust-filtering solutions, but sometimes we’ll need to mix and match. The important thing, in keeping OSHA compliant on the job site, is to eliminate as much of the silica dust exposure to our lungs as possible.
Silica Dust Compliance Questions: Tools and Attachments
Can I Use Tools From One Brand and An Attachment From A Different Brand?
Most tool brands have attachments that fit their tools due to specific design elements of the tools (e.g., rotary hammer tube size variations, collar configuration on a grinder, etc.), making them brand specific. There are some exceptions, however. Dust suction drilling attachments and universal collar dust shrouds can sometimes interchange between tool brand and attachment brand.
A good example is Bosch’s HDC200/HDC300 Dust Shroud – you can use them with any brand’s rotary hammer.
Can I Use A Dust Extractor From One Brand With Another Brand Of Tool Or Another Brand Of Attachment?
Yes, you can. However, you need to meet three requirements. For one thing, you need a minimum of 25 CFM per 1″ of grinder wheel. That means that your 9″ grinder will need to attach to a dust extractor that cranks out 225 CFM, regardless of brand.
Secondly, your dust extractor will need some sort of filter cleaning system. It can be an automatic filter cleaning system or a semi-automatic system (usually some form of push-button), but it needs to be in good, working order.
Finally, your filter needs a 99% filtration rating. While HEPA filters provide the most effective filtering, they aren’t necessarily required. The OSHA Silica Dust Regulation – Table 1 states that a filter needs to filter 99% effectively. Most non-HEPA filters (cellulose) that come with a dust extractor meet this standard. Using a HEPA filter offers greater durability versus a standard filter, saves money in the long term, and satisfies OSHA requirements.
On the other hand, HEPA filters reduce dust extractor suction performance and are more expensive. For that reason, we recommend only using them when you have to.
Think you’re stuck on those three rules? Think again. OSHA has Table 1 as a reference for the most common applications. You can also use objective data to prove a method of dust control or personal monitoring. Those options can be more complex to prove than simple Table 1 adherence, but they are viable options.
Is There A Length Limit With Vacuum Hoses?
In keeping OSHA compliant, your dust extractor will need to maintain certain levels of efficiency. Unfortunately, the expected efficiency of a dust extractor decreases significantly with hoses longer than 16 feet. So, as long as your hose doesn’t exceed that length, you can bank on the dust extractor’s generally-expected levels of performance.
Special thanks to Jim Bohn, Director of Strategic Development – North America, Robert Bosch Tool Corporation for providing input and feedback on this article. Jim Bohn is responsible for driving the creation and rollout of Bosch power tool products in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, he assists the company’s sales organization in providing the products, services, and training programs to meet the needs of construction professionals.