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Full Description

Dust from woodworking activities, for example, joinery, sawmills and timber should not be overlooked in the workplace. Various kinds of wood materials, matched with different treatment coatings make dusts an unpredictable and dangerous hazard in the workplace. Therefore, it's essential to implement effective woodworking dust extraction solutions.

From an operational perspective, it makes good business and logistical sense to maintain, or keep on top of dust in the workplace with the use of a local exhaust ventilation (LEV) woodworking dust extraction system. This is because it can save workers’ time cleaning up, but also there will be fewer slips and trip hazards caused by dust that’s settled. Also, dust produced from wood-related activities is flammable and has the potential to cause a serious fire or, albeit very rare, the potential to cause an explosion.


Saw Mills

Timber Merchants


Use Dust Extraction To Reduce Exposure in Woodworking

Different kinds of wood can contain different types of bacteria, fungal and moss spores. The volume of dust generated can depend on the method of cutting and the type of wood being used. Some factors to consider are whether the timber is green or seasoned, whether it is a hardwood, softwood or composite board or; how aggressive the machine cutter or blade profile is.

Fine dust poses the biggest risk to human health, as this can penetrate deep into your lungs, and even through the alveoli and into your bloodstream. The finer the dust is, the more dust particles there are to suspend in the air meaning it can be more easily inhaled.

According to HSE ‘WIS3: Wood Dust – Controlling the risks’ guidance, this type of dust is classified as a substance hazardous to health and exposure to it can potentially cause non-reversible health problems, including:

  • irritation of the skin (dermatitis)
  • obstruction in the nose, and rhinitis
  • lung diseases, such as occupational asthma and;
  • Hardwood dust can also cause a rare form of nasal cancer

Therefore, it's highly recommended to use a woodworking extraction system to reduce the risk of harmful wood dust.

Occupational Asthma

Click the following links to find HSE’s ‘G402: Health Surveillance for Occupation Asthma’, and; ‘G403: Health Surveillance for Occupational Dermatitis’ guidance.



Woodworking Dust Extraction Solutions

Our range of engineering control solutions is ideal for improving your workplace's air quality. By providing an LEV system, you also provide clean air for your workforce. Wood dust extraction systems typically include 4 core elements, which are:

  1. Capture hood
  2. Air cleaner
  3. Air mover 
  4. Discharge

The capture hood should be placed as close to the wood cutting, planing or sanding processes as possible to draw away and capture dust at-source before they're able to dissipate into the broader workplace. Depending on your business's production processes a filtration system is likely to be required. An air filtration system will help capture dust that's produced in the cutting, planing or sanding processes.

Direct Connections

Direct Connections - Image 9
Direct Connections - Image 9

Direct connections to various types of machines that produce harmful dust. These can be in form of hose connection to built-in spigots on the machines themselves or via bespoke guards, hoods etc. fabricated to suit each machine so that the dust is captured. Dust is then conveyed to a centralised filtration unit to remove captured particles and return the cleaned air to the atmosphere.

Fine Dust Filters

Dust Extraction
Dust Extraction

Fine dust filters are suitable for the extraction of various kinds of fume and dust and are suitable to be used in a wide range of applications.

Coarse Dust Filters

Coarse dust filters are designed for the most challenging applications, where there is a demand for large air volume and filtration capacities. Coarse dust filter units are suitable for handling various kinds of dust types and offer extremely efficient dust filtration, or dust collection capabilities to deliver reliable continuous operation.

Portable Dust Filters

Portable Dust Extraction Units
Portable Dust Extraction Units

Portable dust filters are a very versatile product and is available in a choice of finishes (depending on the application), diameters, lengths and accessories. They are a very popular product in our range as they provide at-source extraction and remove the pollutant from the workplace before it has the opportunity to dissipate into the workplace.



Woodworking Processes

We offer a wide range of different engineering solutions to help control and reduce exposure to dust that's produced in the working environment. We have a variety of solutions, which include bandsaw, circular bench saws, cross-cut saws, vertical spindle moulders, overhead and CNC routers, handheld sanding machines, wall saw, surface planer, fixed sanding machines (narrow belt), fixed sanding machine (disc), fixed sanding machines (drum/bobbin), chop saw and; suction hose attachment for cleaning.


Where Can You Find Wood Dust?

Wood dust forms following various woodworking processes, from sawing to sanding, and this is a hazard you can encounter whether indoors or outdoors. The dangers of inhaling wood dust still exist when in an outdoor environment, even though the risk is significantly reduced. We offer several wood dust extraction solutions suitable for internal and external use. Our core products include direct connections, filter units, and portable dust filters. Get in touch today to learn more about the woodworking dust extraction solution that's most suitable for your business.


HSE Inspections to Target Woodworking Businesses

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that from April 2022, they will be targeting woodworking businesses with an extensive campaign. As part of the campaign, HSE inspectors will be visiting businesses across the country, from sawmills to carpenters. The HSE notes that in 2021, there were 12,000 deaths from lung diseases recorded, all of whom were previously exposed to wood dust at work. The campaign aims to 'help businesses whose workers cut and shape wood to take action now to protect their workers' respiratory health'. The inspectors will ensure that measures are in place to comply with health & safety guidance and to protect employees from respiratory diseases, most notably occupational asthma and nasal cancer.

The HSE recommends that woodworking businesses control exposure to wood dust by using extraction solutions that capture harmful dust at source. Inspectors will ensure that dust extraction systems for woodwork are in place and that employees understand the risks and how to operate machinery safely and correctly. They will also be looking into whether guards are fitted to protect fingers and hands and are well adjustable to ensure dust capture remains effective. This campaign will ensure employers and their workers are aware of the risks of wood dust and why certain measures are necessary to safeguard health.

The woodworking industry remains a key focus for the HSE, as shown by their latest update in June 2023. This update states that inspectors will continue to look for evidence throughout 2023/24. In particular, they will identify whether employers have considered measures to reduce exposure to wood dust, that workers understand the risk, and that effective measures have been implemented. During the previous period, inspectors attended more than 1,000 sites and discovered that an alarming 78% of businesses were not compliant, resulting in 402 enforcement actions. The main areas of concern included housekeeping (e.g. dry sweeping of dust), LEV maintenance and examination, selection of and face fit testing for RPE, and health surveillance for exposure.

Given this announcement, it has never been more critical to ensure your woodworking business complies with health & safety regulations. Contact us today to learn more about our wood dust extraction systems and associated services, including LEV testing.



Examples of Punishments for Woodworking Businesses

The woodworking industry is one of the most high-risk sectors for workplace accidents due to exposure to dust and fumes. Therefore, the Health & Safety Executive is extremely strict when enforcing the Health and Safety at Work Act. Businesses and personnel can expect hefty punishments if they breach health and safety regulations. Consequences include fines, disqualification from running a company, and even imprisonment. This section will discuss some of the most notable examples of real-life incidents that have resulted in severe punishment.

As part of their routine inspection of premises, an HSE inspector visited a furniture factory in Port Talbot, Wales, in 2015 when they noticed a series of failings. The inspector identified poor control of wood dust and a lack of equipment maintenance. They also reported noisy conditions and inadequate toilet and washing facilities. The factory was initially served with several improvement notices, allowing them to correct their faults within a specified timeframe. The HSE saw little progress following the notices and decided to take further action. The presiding judge described the accused as engaging in "nothing short of a time bomb in relation to the health and safety of employees." The director and three managers/shareholders of the company were each given a 10-month suspended prison sentence and fined £2,500. They were also disqualified from being a company director for at least five years.

In April 2023, a London-based joinery business was fined £20,000 for breaching the regulations and ordered to pay costs of £1,500. As part of the targeted campaign discussed above, HSE inspectors visited the company in May of the previous year. The inspectors discovered several failures to control wood dust exposure, such as "excessive levels of settled dust around the site." Despite having woodworking LEV extraction systems, they were disconnected and not in use. The firm had previously received an enforcement notice on two separate occasions.

One recent example of a business being punished following wood dust failures involves a furniture supplier in Northampton. According to the HSE, inspectors visited the premises and found that workers were exposed to excessive levels of wood dust. The inspectors saw deposits of dust in the sawmill and around several woodworking machines and also noted workers dry-sweeping the dust as an inefficient and unsafe way to remove it. Over the course of six years, inspectors visited the site four times and issued advice and enforcement, but the company still didn't meet their requirements. While they had a woodworking dust extraction system, it was deemed inadequate and did not properly capture the dust. The business was fined £14,700 and ordered to pay £4,869.46 in costs. Furniture manufacturers and suppliers are prime examples of businesses in the woodworking industry that must implement adequate solutions to keep their staff safe.


The Common Dangers of Woodworking

Woodworking is an important industry that can be a rewarding and fun experience to work in, but there's no doubt that it's also a sector that comes with unique hazards. Some of the common dangers of woodworking include poor hygiene, such as not washing hands thoroughly after coming into contact with harmful substances, and the danger of fires or explosions. Other risks include using complex machinery, dangerous equipment like chainsaws and power tools. As with several industries, common accidents also involve working at height, slips and trips, and loud noises.

At Auto Extract Systems, we are primarily concerned with harmful airborne contaminants, such as dust. Wood dust is extremely dangerous as it can create severe health problems like skin irritation, lung disease and asthma. The type of wood can also influence the level of risk exposed to people. Hardwood dust, for instance, is particularly dangerous as it can lead to a rare form of nasal cancer. Dust is more dangerous the finer the particles as this makes it far easier to inhale. As well as the obvious risks of inhaling dust or your skin touching it, wood dust can also lead to more slips and trips and as a flammable substance, it can create fire hazards. Any chemicals used with wood materials, like paints and adhesives, also generate additional health risks.


What PPE Should Staff Wear?

A woodworking dust extraction system is the most effective way to prevent exposure to wood dust, however, there are several other health risks to employees working in this particular industry. The woodworking sector can be a dangerous industry, so measures should be taken to prevent accidents and serious injuries. When working with wood, staff should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times. PPE is designed to protect people against hazardous situations, such as working with harmful particulates and dangerous equipment.

The number one PPE for woodworkers to wear are safety glasses or face shields. These glasses or shields will protect the eyes from projectiles such as dust and vapour, which can severely damage the eyes. Workers are also recommended to wear safety gloves. Gloves will protect staff from a range of hand injuries, including splinters and cuts. Certain equipment may be safer when used without gloves, so be sure to check the manual beforehand. Face masks or respirators can provide further protection against airborne contaminants. Other recommended PPE include hearing protection and steel tip boots.


The Right Woodworking Dust Extraction Solution for Your Needs

Auto Extract Systems can help specify and design the right wood dust dust extraction system for your business's requirements. Over the last 20 years, we've helped thousands of businesses create dust and fume free workplaces. As experts in all things LEV, we can help your business become HSE COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulation 2002 compliant with a tailored LEV solution. We provide comprehensive design, installationcertification and maintenance services across a range of industry sectors.

We only use the highest quality products and installations come complete with a 12-month installation warranty. Find out more about our LEV Installations service.

To find out more about woodworking extraction and how we can help you find the right local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system for you and your business, head over to our News section. Request a FREE LEV site assessment today by clicking the button below, or call us on +44 (0)1942 267444.



Checklist To Help You To Choose The Right LEV Supplier

Checklist - How to Choose a Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Supplier
Checklist - How to Choose a Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Supplier

If you’re in the market for a new Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system, it can be a tough decision to decide which is the best LEV solutions provider to choose. We want to help, so we’ve assembled a checklist (and article) to help guide you to select the right LEV supplier for your business and requirements. Visit our article on How to Choose a Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Supplier and download the checklist.


Learn How We Helped Businesses Like Yours

Case Study Mock Up
Case Study Mock Up

To find out more about the latest woodworking dust extraction LEV installations we've been working on, check out our Case Studies section.

Visit our workshop dust extraction page to find out more about how we have helped businesses like yours.


Request Your FREE LEV Site Assessment Today!

We'll call to arrange a convenient time and date to visit your site. We'll analyse your working processes, assess the substances used and the contaminants generated. We'll work out how best to control the dust and fume in a way that's in line with your COSHH risk assessment. Next, we'll design you a comprehensive LEV system that adheres to HSG258 guidance and send this you to via email.

We'll do all this to ensure we fully understand your dust and fume extraction requirements and help you to provide a pollution-free workplace!

This is an amazing service we do for thousands of businesses throughout the UK and Ireland every year. We work with such a wide variety of industries, from manufacturing, industrial, woodworking, pharmaceutical and automotive bodyshops to schools, colleges and military establishments.

Request your FREE, no-obligation LEV site assessment today!



Why Choose Us?

Celebrating 20 Years In Business
Celebrating 20 Years In Business

Auto Extract Systems is the UK’s leading Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) company. Over the last 20 years, we've helped thousands of businesses create dust and fume free workplaces.

As experts in all things LEV, we can help your business become COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulation 2002 compliant with a tailored LEV solution. We provide comprehensive design, installation, maintenance and certification services across a range of industry sectors. Find out more about us here.


We Have Woodworking Dust Extraction Solutions For...

  • Timber Merchants
  • Saw Mills
  • Joineries
  • Furniture Manufacturers
  • Sawmilling and planing of wood
  • Manufacturers of veneer sheets and wood-based panels
  • Manufacturers of assembled parquet floors
  • Other builders' carpentry and joinery manufacturers
  • Manufacturers of wooden containers
  • Manufacturers of other products of wood; manufacture of articles of cork, straw and plaiting materials

Why Work With Us?

celebrating 20 years’ of service

Celebrating 20 Years’ of Service

experts across multiple industries

Experts Across Multiple Industries

high quality lev design, supply & installation

High Quality LEV Design, Supply & Installation

affiliate bohs member & fully accredited with chas, iso and more!

Affiliate BOHS Member & Fully Accredited With CHAS, ISO and More!

12 month installations warranty

12 Month Installations Warranty

free lev site assessments, uk-wide

Free LEV Site Assessments, UK-Wide

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