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HSE inspections of woodworking businesses focus on lung disease

HSE are currently inspecting woodworking businesses to ensure dutyholders know the established health risks associated with woodworking, including wood dust, and have effective controls in place to keep workers safe and protect their respiratory health.

In 2022/23, HSE carried out more than 1,000 woodworking inspections and found 78% of businesses were not compliant in protecting workers from respiratory sensitisers (primarily dust from hardwoods, softwoods and composite materials such as MDF). This resulted in 402 enforcement actions taken by HSE. Key areas of concern included:

  • Housekeeping (including dry sweeping of wood dust)

  • Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) maintenance and thorough examination

  • Selection of and face fit testing for Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)

  • Health Surveillance for exposure to wood dust

Each year, around 12,000 people die from work-related lung diseases linked to past exposure to hazardous substances at work. These figures include inhalation of wood-dust that can cause occupational asthma and, in the case of hardwoods, sino-nasal cancer. View the statistics. These deaths are preventable if exposure to the risks is effectively controlled.

Inspectors will check that woodwork is planned correctly to minimise risk; and that adequate control measures are in place to protect workers’ health.

Don't risk the health and safety of yourself, or your employees. Ensure you have effective controls in place to keep workers safe and protect their respiratory health.

If you require health and safety training, such as Face Fit Testing, don't hesitate to get in contact:

01782 438813

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