Cobalt exposure prevention

We have a strong Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) culture at Sandvik Mining and our objective is to minimize harm to our people, our customers, our suppliers and the environment to the greatest extent possible.

On November 7 2013 the members of the International Cobalt Development Institute (CDI) and Cobalt REACH Consortium (CoRC) classified Cobalt metal as a category 1B (H350i) carcinogen by inhalation*

The following are some examples of measures taken by Sandvik Mining to attempt to reduce exposure from dust, mist or fumes from the material. Keep in mind, before engaging in any activity involving the use of Cobalt, the user must first review, understand and comply with all applicable instruction manuals, laws and regulations.

Some facts

  • Cemented Carbide, Tungsten Carbide and Hardmetal are different names for the same kind of material
  • All alloys (mixtures) containing >1% Cobalt metal carries the same classification
  • Only inhalable forms of Cobalt metal is considered hazardous
  • Cemented Carbide is a powdery metallurgical material; a composite of Tungsten Carbide (WC) particles and a binder rich in metallic Cobalt (Co), along with sometimes other substances such as Nickel, Tantalum Carbide, Molybdenum Carbide, Chromium Carbide, depending on the formulation of the powder mixture
  • Cemented Carbide is used in, among other things, metal cutting tools, drills, die and punches, in engineering applications and for rock drilling tools.
  • Cemented Carbide is a popular material due to its strong wear resistance.
  • The cemented carbide body is formed, either through powder pressing or injection moulding techniques, into a body, which is then sintered to full density.
  • Cobalt exists in the dust and mist that is produced when grinding, sharpening, cutting, or heating Cemented Carbide products.
  • Even if the necessary precautionary measures are taken, dust or mist of hazardous ingredients such as Cobalt may be inhaled, or come into contact with the skin or eyes causing potential irritation and disease.
  • *A statement on Cobalt classification reported by CDI and CoRC can be found in the report located at:

Cobalt dust or mist hazard label

  • Do you know the label? It is the new Cobalt dust or mist hazard warning label. This label has been produced to be used on products containing Cobalt.

    Find out more

Cobalt exposure animation

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Please note that the animation is intended as an introduction to working with Cobalt during the grinding and re-grinding process and should not be used as or to replace a full competence based training programme, including review, understanding and compliance with all applicable instruction manuals, laws and regulations.

If you are a customer and would like to receive more information on the training on offer at Sandvik Mining, please contact us to find out more.