Working with wood is an interesting business. However, there are some associated risks when your business deals with woodworking machinery. If you want to read about these risks then here is the most exhaustive article about epoxies and more. There is an increased danger of working with cutting machines and razor-sharp cutters. Aside from that, there is also the danger of starting a fire due to accumulation of wood dust. This may result to injuries and claims under the business insurance policy.
What is Wood Dust?
Wood dust is a byproduct of several process of working with wood. It varies in size and shape depending on the type of wood, cutter and sharpness of your cutter. Without adequate education and training, risk will always exist.
Major Wood Dust Risks
Wood dust poses an insidious risk. Although some wood dust is not seen by naked eyes, they still pose fire, safety and health risk to you as well as to your employees. Wood dust is extremely igniting and explosive. A single dust particle can pass the fire to other dust particles leading to a big fire in the entire area.
Risk to Your Employees
Exposure to dust poses health risk to your employees including long term illness such as asthma, skin disorders, rhinitis and some respiratory duct cancers. If any of your employee get injuries linked to direct involvement in their duties, your business may face multiple claims.
Causes of Wood Dust
Wood dust is caused by various processes such as:
- Cutting, routing and turning
- Sanding using hands or machines
- Blowing dust using compressed airlines
- Assembling cut pieces or sanded parts
- Collecting the dust for the dust extraction operator
- Housekeeping such as sweeping wood dust on the floor
Tips to Help in Controlling Wood Dust Risks
As owner of the business, you have the responsibility of addressing the issue of wood dust. The wood dust is classified as a hazardous substance. You should start to address the issue by running a risk assessment to identify where risks exist. Once you know these areas, apply the principles to prevent exposure to the workers. The measures include providing protective equipment. Observe the recommended limits of dust at any given time.
Wood Dust and Waste Collection
Use the dust collection systems to continuously collect dust in your premises. Dust should be kept below levels that pose danger. The collection systems are called the local exhaust ventilation (LEV). There are 3 main types of LEV:
- Isolated LEV that funnels the dust from one or several machines and directs it towards a single collection unit.
- A LEV that is connected to all or virtually all machines and collects dust that is then channeled to a single collection unit.
- Though-flow system- ventilates dust from one or several working machines to a collection point near the machines. The waste is then directed to a collection unit outside the working area.
Wood dust from your workshop presents a significant health hazard to your workers as well as to your business. Following the above measures will reduce the risk of fires as well as health risks to your workers.