If your job involves working with wood, you may be exposed to large amounts of hardwood dust on a regular basis.
This can be toxic and lead to a number of health
For health reasons, new lower limits of dust exposure are going to be introduced to help protect workers from developing nasal cancer or conditions like severe asthma.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) want to understand how this will affect people’s businesses, so they’re currently asking woodworkers to complete a 10-minute survey (closes Friday 20th July) - you can find the survey here, and find out more about it below.
Our article will take a closer look at the dangers of woodworking and encourage employers to ensure their workers are protected against inhaling excessive amounts of wood dust.
The main jobs involving woodwork include carpentry, joinery, woodcarving, woodturning, and furniture or cabinet making.
Over recent years, the woodworking industry has changed significantly because of modern-day developments in technology – workers now use the latest wood-cutting machines to get a job done exquisitely.
The main materials involved are:
Cutting the wood is an essential aspect of the many job roles. This produces occupational sawdust, which can be inhaled into workers’ lungs.
A concern of many workers is “can wood dust cause cancer?” The answer, unfortunately, is yes. If you aren’t sufficiently protected and you inhale excessive amounts of hardwood dust, it could lead to a life-changing industrial disease, like nose cancer.
When carrying out jobs like sawing, sanding, milling,
As well as an irritant, wood dust is a carcinogen and contains toxins, so breathing in wood dust can bring on severe allergies, other respiratory conditions and a rare type of nasal cancer.
People can be affected by sawdust through dust inhalation, and skin or eye contact.
This is the maximum amount of
Your employer must make sure that the level of sawdust does not exceed this limit and all workers are protected from workshop hazards – as stated by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).
If you are self-employed, it is vital that you follow woodwork health and safety rules to protect yourself.
To control the amount of exposure to wood dust and reduce the risk, it is the employer’s responsibility to:
Employees also have the responsibility of listening and paying attention to all rules regarding wood dust control, and they must follow all safety rules in a woodwork
The HSE have woodworking videos that demonstrate how to improve dust control and clean up safely:
For more information on controlling wood dust and the employer’s responsibility, see the HSE’s page here.
Carpenter Roy Taylor, from Eastbourne, died from a rare type of nasal cancer in 2009. It stemmed from his job role and not being completely protected from
Mr Taylor had suffered
Symptoms after inhaling sawdust can include the following:
If you experience one or more of the above symptoms, it is best to seek medical attention straight away.
After an inquest into his death as a case of medical negligence, Mr Taylor’s wife hoped that his story would spread awareness of the dangers when working with wood.
If the answer is yes, it would be a big help for the HSE if those in the wood-working industry completed their survey. It closes on 20th July 2018 and only takes around 10-15 minutes – complete the survey here.
This week, Cute Injury interviewed a self-employed local tradesman and entrepreneur Alex Nutty, from Porthcawl, about his role that involves working with wood.
Carpentry is his speciality and he stated that creating something out of wood is a true passion of his.
Being around saw dust is becoming a regular occurrence for him, so he is currently looking into fitting high-quality LEV systems inside his workshop and after every job, he makes sure he cleans up appropriately – these measures will help massively towards protecting his health.
Mr Nutty took the time to complete the HSE’s survey, and a few of the general questions asked were:
His answers, and those of other
If you’re an employer of people who work with wood, or if you are self-employed, it is vital that you consider all risks and follow all safety measures to prevent any work-related illnesses or diseases.
If you feel you have been affected by wood dust and haven’t been protected by your employer, contact us today to see how we can help you.
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