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Protecting Workers Health - Dust Campaign

Exposure to dust can risk your long-term health. Not today, but years down the line.

Dust particles can be 100 times smaller than a grain of sand, and once in your lungs the dust will start causing damage. Exposure can lead to severe breathing difficulties and lung diseases that can ruin lives and cause an early death.

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 hardwood, softwood and composite material’s dust). This resulted in 402 enforcement actions taken by HSE.

The main areas of concern identified by HSE were:

  1. Dry sweeping. Avoid dry sweeping and using compressed airlines when cleaning up as these will just create dust clouds and redistribute the dust. Use vacuum equipment that meets at least the dust class M (medium hazard) classification or a suction hose attached to the LEV system.

  2. Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV). Control wood dust at source as it is produced, and prevent it spreading into the workplace, by the use of fixed LEV. We have advice about LEV design and management in the download below.

  3. Face fit testing. Workers have varying sizes and shapes of faces, so a face ‘fit test’ is needed to ensure any tight fitting respirator is effective for the individual worker. Facial hair or glasses tend to lift the respirator off the face and permit inward leakage of contaminated air.

  4. Health Surveillance. Woodworking employers have a legal duty to provide health surveillance as there is a disease associated with wood dust.

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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