11 Aug 2010
Health & Safety Considerations for Wood Dust
Companies with a workforce likely to come into contact with wood dust need to understand the potential risks involved.
Carpenters and joiners are four times more likely to get asthma than other UK workers as a result of their exposure to wood dust, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has outlined the measures firms can take to protect their employees.
The Control of Substances and Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 require businesses leaders to protect workers from the dangers of wood dust.
There is an established link between hardwood dust and cancer, particularly of the nose, so the importance of implementing proper safeguards if obvious.
According to the body, both hardwood and softwood dusts have a workplace exposure limit of 5mg/m3 which must not be exceeded, though it warns to keep exposure as low as "reasonably practicable".
Companies should ensure dust extraction tools are in place around woodworking machines to prevent dust spreading.
Educate workers about the risks from wood dust and the control measures required," the HSE said. "They should know how to use the extraction properly."