Dust Protection Policy

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The Association of Woodturners of Great Britain Dust Protection Policy


The purpose of this document is to clarify the policy of the use of dust protection equipment when using a woodturning lathe.


The use of the term RPE in this document refers to Respiratory Protective Equipment.


To help promote a healthy and safe attitude when working on the lathe, be it at a professional or hobby level, the AWGB has adopted guidance from the HSE as a minimum level. It is a crucial element in the promotion and maintenance of a positive health and safety culture and in achieving high standards of health and safety awareness at all levels throughout the Association.  Any subsequent revisions of this policy will be brought to the notice of our members.


It is the responsibility of each individual member to work safely and reduce the risk of injury caused through lathe operation. It is also the responsibility for those members that are concerned about unsafe practices at demonstrations and teaching practices to raise these concerns as soon as possible with the person practising or the relevant supervisor.

It is also the responsibility of event organisers and demonstrators to protect audience members from harm.

Health and Safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Levels of protection

It is assumed that most turners will use either disposable masks or self-contained respirators so the comparison is limited to those. Details on other types of RPE are available in the HSE documents referred to at the end of this document.

Half mask respirators: These are intended for continuous use for periods of less than one hour. Masks marked “NR” (not reusable) should be disposed of at the end of the day. Reusable masks are marked “R”. Masks with replaceable filters should have their filters replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Powered respirators with hoods / helmets: These can be used for periods of more than one hour. Filters should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Protection factors

Half Mask Respirators Powered Respirators Protection Factor Percentage of dust trapped
FFP1 4 75%
FFP2 TH1 10 90%
FFP3 TH2 20 95%
TH3 40 98%


For wood dust, a protection factor of 20 is recommended.

Respirators designed for dust protection may not be effective against fumes from paints, finishes and solvents etc. Generally speaking, dust filters offer no protection against gas / vapours, and gas / vapour filters offer no protection against dust. Ensure appropriate protective equipment is used for each application. It may be possible to use a respirator that will have separate filters which are effective against dust and gas / vapour.

Any RPE will only be effective if it is made to the right standard; is in good condition and is properly fitted.


  • All wood dust is hazardous to health.
  • RPE to be worn during any activity that generates dust, either on or off the lathe.
  • RPE will be worn when cleaning filters or changing dust collection bags on workshop dust extraction or filtration equipment.
  • RPE must have the protection factor and must be CE marked. Always use equipment which has at least the recommended protection factor.
  • Removal of dust at source is considered good practice. Extractors which take away most of the dust at the point of creation help reduce the amount of dust in the air but bear in mind that some filter bags on extractors are not designed to filter out small dust particles so they may reduce the amount of visible dust but may not remove the harmful small airborne particles.
  • Ambient air filtration is also considered good practice to reduce the amount of airborne dust by filtering the air in the workshop.
  • When cleaning the workshop, RPE should continue to be worn. Avoid blowing dust because this just puts it back into the air where it can do you harm. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust.
  • All demonstrators and tutors must emphasise the use of protective equipment.

Care and maintenance

Disposable dust masks and respirator filters should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Dust extraction / filtration equipment should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions

For further reference

Respiratory protection equipment at work www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg53.pdf

Wood dust: Selecting suitable respiratory protective equipment www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wis14.pdf

FAQs on woodworking www.hse.gov.uk/woodworking/faqs.htm

HSE website www.hse.gov.uk