Minimising dust and other hazardous compounds in the workshop

The dangers of dust and other hazardous compounds in the woodworking and manufacturing industries are widely recognised; however, it can be all too easy to forget about these when your focus is on the project at hand. Many activities create dust, including cutting, milling, grinding, sanding and even clearing up spillages; which, if managed incorrectly, can lead to serious health problems through inhalation, skin contact, eye exposure and ingestion.

Add to this, the presence of glues, resins, formaldehyde and other wood treatment chemicals in some wood products and the health risks associated with dust exposure only increase.

Making occupational health a priority in the workshop is therefore a must for professionals. Thankfully, along with guidelines from HSE, there are several simple things you can do to minimise dust and other hazardous compounds in the workshop:

1. Dust extraction

Using dust extraction systems (also known as local exhaust ventilation or LEV) in the workshop can help to capture and remove dust before it can spread. Keep the extraction system properly maintained and working correctly (it is a legal requirement to have it examined at least every 14 months) and be sure to educate employees on how to use the system, to provide maximum safe