Whether you do woodworking as a hobby or for your line of work, there’s no doubt that it can be a fulfilling and vital task. However, we cannot stress enough that working with wood does come with several risks. You should recognise the dangers of working with wood and understand what steps you can take to prevent accidents.
Discover the dangers of woodworking and the LEV requirements that you should be aware of, helping keep you and others safe…
What Are the Dangers of Woodworking?
The hazards of woodworking can vary depending on various factors like the type of wood, but generally speaking, the threat is severe no matter what. One of the biggest concerns with woodworking involves dust, which is our speciality at Auto Extract Systems. When working with wood, dust is formed, a harmful substance that can cause a wide range of health conditions if it touches someone’s skin or is inhaled. The finer the dust, the easier it is to inhale.
Wood dust can reach your lungs and bloodstream, causing health problems like asthma, skin irritation, lung disease, and nasal obstruction. Some types of wood are more dangerous than others. Hardwood dust, for example, can cause a rare form of nasal cancer.
When wood dust infiltrates the environment, it causes a dirtier and more dangerous workplace. Large amounts of dust can lead to an increase in slips and trips. Dust is also a flammable substance, creating fire and explosion hazards. Chemicals involved in woodworking, such as varnishes, paints and adhesives, may also present a health hazard.
The Key LEV Requirements for Woodworking
The Health and Safety Executive is a government agency that oversees workplace safety in the United Kingdom. The risk of dust falls under the HSE’s Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). These regulations ensure that employers take measures to prevent exposure to harmful substances or to adequately control exposure if prevention is not possible. As a woodworking business, you should undertake a COSHH assessment to identify any hazardous substances your employees may work with. This assessment will help you identify measures to mitigate risk, such as implementing an effective solution for woodworking dust extraction.
A local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system is a control measure designed to reduce exposure. LEV systems capture harmful contaminants at the source level and eliminate them in a safe way before they reach the air that employees breathe. These systems are the recommended method for creating a cleaner air quality for your staff.
Legally, businesses must follow the regulations to first and foremost, protect people from risk and avoid accidents and severe health risks. If you fail to do so, you can receive damaging punishments, including heavy fines, suspension and imprisonment.
You must make sure your business is compliant with the workplace exposure limits. These limits state the legal limit on the amount of harmful substances that can be found in the air. Regular monitoring will ensure your air is clean and your workers are protected.
LEV systems must be tested at least every 14 months. If a system is faulty, this presents a dangerous hazard as it may not be performing its job correctly in safely removing harmful contaminants. Alongside this, you should maintain and service systems regularly to keep them in good working order. All operators and supervisors should receive adequate training in how to safely and correctly use the LEV system.
Health & Safety Executive inspectors may visit your workplace to check that the regulations are being followed. As part of this inspection, they may ask to see records showing proof of testing and training. Failure to comply may lead to consequences for you and your business.
We Can Help Your Woodworking Business
We’ve worked with businesses across various industries to ensure their working environments guarantee a clean and safe air space, and we can help you too. Whether you need a solution for dust extraction, welding extraction, fume extraction, or another service, we are on hand to assist. We also offer various services, including LEV testing, to ensure businesses remain compliant with laws and regulations. To start your journey with us today, get in touch with our team. We will listen to your requirements and offer a cost-effective solution that suits you.
Why Choose Auto Extract Systems?
We are the UK’s leading LEV company with over 20 years of experience offering dust extraction solutions. Our team has helped thousands of businesses create pollution-free environments and avoid costly fines and other consequences.
We are experts in all things LEV and can help your business become COSHH compliant with a tailored LEV solution. We provide comprehensive design, installation, maintenance and certification services across various industry sectors. Find out more about us here.