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HSE inspections target woodworking businesses to tackle occupational lung disease

Many woodworking businesses are endangering workers’ lives by failing to implement the measures required to prevent or control exposure to wood dust says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Woodworking industries have the potential for high incidence rates of occupational ill-health caused by worker exposure to inadequately controlled wood dust in the workplace, such as sino-nasal cancer, occupational asthma and dermatitis.

Throughout 2023/24, inspectors will be looking for evidence that employers have considered the control measures required to reduce workers exposure to wood dust, that workers understand the risks of exposure to wood dust, and effective control measures have been put in place to protect workers from harm. Inspectors will take enforcement action when necessary to make sure workers are protected.

HSE inspections in 2022/23 identified four main areas of concern, where businesses failed to adequately implement the control measures required to protect workers.

These were:

- 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.

Employers need to do the right thing, for example, through completing a risk assessment, ensuring workers are trained, reducing exposure using LEV and using suitable RPE to protect workers, where required.

If you require Face Fit Testing, don't hesitate to get in contact:

01782 438813

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