Dust from woodworking activities, for example, joinery workshops, sawmills and timber workshops should not be overlooked in the workplace. Various kinds of wood materials, matched with different treatment coatings make wood dusts an unpredictable and dangerous hazard in the workplace.
From an operational perspective, it makes good business and logistical sense to maintain, or keep on top of wood dust in the workplace with the use of a local exhaust ventilation (LEV) 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 woodworking activities is flammable and has the potential to cause a serious fire or, albeit very rare, the potential to cause an explosion.
We Have The Solution
Auto Extract Systems have a wide variety of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) solutions to suit your business’ woodworking needs, from direct connection systems to filtration units for coarse or fine dust. Auto Extract Systems Ltd are accustomed to helping all kinds of woodworking businesses in providing pollution-free workplaces for their staff.
What Do The HSE Recommend?
In May 2019, HSE updated their COSHH Essential Guidance Sheets for woodworking industries. As part of their update, HSE fragmented their guidance sheets to give business owners and QHSE managers clearer help on how to protect staff in the workplace and saw the woodworking sector split via different sawing methods; including 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. Find all the new guidance sheets here.
The reoccurring theme of the COSHH Essential Guidance Sheets, from WD1 to WD17 is to install efficient local exhaust ventilation (LEV) dust extraction systems to directly to sawing/cutting machines (where practically possible) to capture dust at-source and to draw it away before it dissipates out into the working environment. This common trend is also supported in HSE’s ‘G406: New and Existing Engineering Control Systems’ woodwork guidance. Read the H
To find out more about the latest LEV installations we've been working on, check out our Case Studies section.
We have a wide range of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) solutions that can be tailored to your workplace’s needs and requirements. We have worked with numerous sectors to help provide tailored LEV solutions, these include:
- Timber Merchants
- Saw Mills
- Furniture Manufacturers
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 wood 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, wood 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
Click the following links to find HSE’s ‘G402: Health Surveillance for Occupation Asthma’, and; ‘G403: Health Surveillance for Occupational Dermatitis’ guidance.