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Vacuum Cleaner Classes

Select the right class for the type of dust

Industrial vacuums and dust extractors rated for use with hazardous dusts are classed as L, M or H.

Note: HEPA does not mean H-class. M and H-class machines have features which improve safety when handling medium and high hazard dusts including:

  • the safe removal of dust collection bags
  • an alarm indicator when the air flow falls below 20 metres per second
  • the prevention of accidental entry and release of hazardous dust when not in use.

Note: L-class machines cannot be upgraded to an M or H-class by adding a better filter. The table below provides examples of hazardous dusts and the required class of machine.

Capture and contain dust in the workplace

Many work processes generate dust. The more hazardous the dust, the more important it is to contain it before it can be breathed in. Using power tools fitted with dust extraction and vacuuming up settled dust are two effective ways to minimise the risk of dust being breathed in.


Use an industrial-rated vacuum or dust extractor

Dust extractors and industrial vacuum cleaners must be properly designed and rated to make sure the dust is safely captured and contained. Domestic-rated vacuums, even those fitted with HEPA filtration, are neither guaranteed to provide a suitable level of protection, nor designed to be used in a commercial environment.

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