Comprehensive and Effective Wood Dust Extraction Solutions...
Market-Leading Wood Dust Extraction Products
Wood dust extraction for 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.
At Auto Extract Systems, we offer a wide variety of different wood dust extraction solutions for a wide variety of industries, sectors and processes. We're experts at capturing dust in the workplace and safely processing it to help your business provide a pollution-free workplace. We have a wide range of industrial wood dust extraction systems that include portable solutions to small bag filters to cartridge filters and even complex cyclone dust filtration systems.
Depending on your business's requirements, we'll help specify the right wood shavings extraction system for your needs. So whether you require a small bag filter and even complex cyclone filtration systems, we'll provide you with effective wood dust extraction and filtration solutions. We can protect workers' from any type or size of wood waste.
Our wood dust extraction technology can help your working environment become dust-free. By utilising the latest dust extraction technologies to increase production efficiencies, profitability and even create energy-saving efficiencies.
Inhalable dust is defined as an airborne material that is capable of entering the nose and mouth during breathing. Some dust may consist of larger or heavier particles, which can get trapped in the nose, mouth, throat or upper respiratory tract. Whilst respirable dust is defined as an airborne material that's is capable of penetrating the gas exchange region of the lung (the alveoli). These can build up in the air spaces in the lung and can lead to lung damage.
It's critical to remember that dust can be a problem in almost any industry.
What Are the Health Effects?
The health effects that dust can cause and prevail in almost any workplace and Depending on the types of dust you're trying to control it can be difficult to know which HSE guidance to follow, however, we can help prevent exposure to hazardous substances.
The hazards caused by wood dust are well recognised and HSE produces specific guidance for these dust, but there are many more substances that generate dust as part of the working process.
Other health implications can include skin sensation, eye damage, gastro tract irritation (if they enter the digestive tract) and affecting organs and tissues in the body if they enter the bloodstream (via the alveoli).
What Is Wood Dust?
Wood dust is produced when processing wood via processes such as machining operations like sawing, routing, turning and sanding.
In HSE's WIS23: Wood Dust: Controlling The Risks guidance states that the biggest risk from wood dust is the fine dust that is produced. Fine dust is fine enough to be respirable and can harm your health. In addition, it can spread further than away from the cutting process and have a bigger effect on the health and safety of other people within the business. Controlling exposure to hazardous dust is achieve with local exhaust ventilation systems.
How Much Wood Dust Exposure Is Dangerous?
The answer to how much wood dust can be inhaled before it becomes dangerous can vary. It can depend on factors like the type of wood, such as hardwood vs softwood, and the sustained length of exposure. In the UK, the Workplace Exposure Limits defines the legal guidelines for working with hazardous materials. Set by the Health and Safety Executive, the limits consider various elements, including concentration, strength over a period of time, and time-weighted average.
Employers should not exceed these limits to protect their staff and use wood dust extraction systems to minimise health risks. The limit for hardwood dust is 3mg/m3 and 5mg/m3, based on a time-weighted average of 8 hours.
What Does the Law State?
In HSE's EH44: Dust in the Workplace guidance, it states: "Exposure to all such dust needs to be prevented or, where this is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled." Prevention should be achieved with local exhaust ventilation.
Under the COSHH regulations, employers should regard dust as a substance hazardous to health, these can include a mixture of compounds, micro-organisms or natural materials, such as flour, stone or wood dust. The substance being used, or being generated as part of the working process should be controlled as per the HSE's Workplace Exposure Limit Guidance. Learn more about Workplace Exposure Limits in the paragraph below.
Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs)
In EH40 guidance categorises important information about harmful substances, including whether substances are skin sensitisers, carcinogenic, or whether biological monitoring guidance is required. Click here to read our article, What are Substance WELs (Workplace Exposure Limits)? In the article, you'll find which hazardous substances have exposure limits and how their concentrations are measured over simulated working day periods.
The long term WEL for hardwood dust is 3mg/m3 is based on an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA), whilst the WEL for softwood dust is 5mg/m3). For businesses who engage with mixtures of both hardwood and softwood dust; the lower WEL (for hardwood dust of 3mg/m3) applies to all wood dust present in that mixture. There is no prescribed short term exposure limit advised.
Examples of Wood Dust Fines
Because wood dust can cause serious health problems, it's crucial that employers and their staff take suitable measures to reduce the risk. Failure to implement an adequate wood dust extraction solution or not testing the system regularly can lead to serious consequences.
In one example, an Essex company was fined a total of £15,000 for repeatedly failing to test its LEV systems. In another example, a worker for a decking company in Southhampton suffered severe breathing difficulties after being exposed to wood dust. The company was fined £27,000 and ordered to pay costs for £25,000.
The financial loss and reputation damage caused by failing to implement an extraction system or examine a system is not worth it. Reach out to our team today and we will make sure that your workplace is free of wood dust hazards.
Essential Elements of COSHH
The legal requirements require employers to complete regular COSHH risk assessments. Regulation 7 first requires employers to make all conscious efforts to follow the COSHH hierarchical approach. The hierarchal approach recommends that substances should be substituted from the process to either eliminate or reduce the risk of exposure. However, if elimination or substitutions can't be avoided, control measures, such as engineering controls should be implemented to control the risk.
COSHH Regulations place the duty of care on employers to ensure employees (and other people in a workplace) who may be exposed to specific substances are protected. To find out more about the necessary steps to take to ensure your workplace complies with the COSHH Regulations, read our article, The 7 Essential Elements of COSHH [Infographic].
What Does HSE Recommend?
Once a formal risk COSHH assessment has been completed, prevention of dust exposure should be the first objective. Dust can easily be eliminated from the workplace with personal protective equipment and suitable engineering controls.
HSE's EH44: Dust in the Workplace guidance states that: "Removing the dust by effective LEV should always be given priority" and that, "PPE should only be considered as a control measure as a last resort."
In May 2019, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) updated their COSHH Essential Guidance Sheets for woodworking dust extraction. HSE fragmented their guidance sheets to give business owners and QHSE managers clearer advice and guidance on how to protect staff in the workplace and saw the sector split via different sawing methods.
These methods included 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.
In HSE's WIS23 guidance states that the best way to control wood dust exposure is with the use of LEV that will effectively control the dust at source, as it's produced.
To control dust exposure at the source, LEV systems should be connected directly to the machines to capture and remove dust before it disperses into the workplace. In the majority of cases, the most effective method of extracting airborne substances, such as dust is to capture at-source. We always recommend at-source extraction and depending on the working processes undertaken, LEV systems built into the machinery or the process (that creates the dust). This prevents dust from dispersing into the broader working environment because of cross draughts and air movements, which can reduce the LEV system's efficiency.
Workers exposed to wood dust should be provided not only with LEV, but Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as eye protection and respiratory protection to protect themselves from the hazards of wood dust.
The HSE request you to only employ competent experienced specialist LEV trained companies when making these important decisions. Specifying an appropriate system has many facets including, the products encountered, the quantity and allowed exposure to that contaminant, airflow rates required against WELs (Workplace Exposure Limits).
Checklist to Help You to Choose the Right 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 out article on How to Choose a Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Supplier and download the checklist.
Benefits of Providing LEV
From a business operation 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 wood is flammable and has the potential to cause a serious fire or, albeit very rare, the potential to cause an explosion.
Exposures to woods can be very dangerous to workers and can lead to a number of different health problems for staff. By ensuring that the right control measures are in place for the various kinds of hazards that exposures to wood dust can bring, you're not only protecting your business but your staff also.
Wood dust can have an adverse effect on health, from allergic reactions to affecting lung capacity. Diagnosis from different types of wood dust can include hay fever, shortness of breath (or a reduced lung function), developing allergies or potentially life-threatening conditions such as occupational asthma or heart disease.
Indoor air quality should be taken into consideration for all members of staff, not just those on machinery to ensure that the air is clean and pollution-free for all members of staff.
Industrial Wood Dust LEV Products
We have various kinds of wood dust extractor solutions available, however our main, or typical just extraction solutions are:
To find out more about the latest dust extraction LEV installations we've been working on, check out our Case Studies section.
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, pharmaceutical and automotive workshops to schools, colleges and military establishments.
Request your FREE, no-obligation LEV site assessment today!
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.
Industry processes we can add value to:
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Request My FREE Site Assessment
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 workout how best to control the dust and fume in a way that's in line with your COSHH risk assessment.