HSE Looks to Bring Down Occupational Lung Disease Rates by Tackling Wood Dust Exposure
The HSE has begun inspecting businesses across the UK that work with wood to reduce the rates of Occupational Lung Disease – caused by wood dust – one of the deadliest industrial diseases affecting UK workers.
Woodworking companies, such as those operating sawmills, manufacturing composite wood board and carpenters are all likely to have an inspection in the near future, with a particular focus on those with wood dust exposure. Such exposure tends to lead to a high rate of occupational asthma – as well as aggravated existing asthma – as improper safety measures fail to control the dust from entering the lungs of workers.
Many of the measures necessary to mitigate wood dust from affecting workers are simple. Ventilation, PPE, and guards should be in place to improve respiratory health for employees. Guards are also particularly helpful in eliminating hand injuries, particularly finger amputations from machines like saws. HSE’s inspections are aimed at making sure employers are aware of the dangers posed to their workforce from wood dust, and if they have considered steps to prevent workers from inhaling it. The Health and Safety Executive are going to be taking action against businesses who fail to protect their workers from wood dust, including fines and suspensions, where deemed appropriate. HSE’s David Butter – head of manufacturing – has said:
“Around 12,000 workers died last year from lung diseases linked to past exposure from work, with thousands more cases of ill-health and working days lost. Wood dust can cause serious health problems. It can cause asthma, which carpenters and joiners are four times more likely to get compared with other UK workers, as well as nasal cancer. Our campaign aims to help businesses whose workers cut and shape wood to take action now to protect their workers’ respiratory health.”
“Through visiting wood working businesses, our inspectors are able to speak to a range of duty holders and look at the measures they have in place to comply with the guidance and protect workers from respiratory diseases such as occupational asthma and nasal cancer.”
The HSE has very helpful and up-to-date guidance on safe woodworking practices for businesses to prepare themselves for the inspections.
Have you suffered from Occupational Lung Disease because of Wood Dust?
Whilst wood dust may seem innocuous, it has the potential to be extremely damaging to your respiratory health. It is the responsibility of your employer to ensure that you are protected from workplace accidents and industrial diseases. If they fail in their duty of care, and you suffer for it, you are likely able to claim personal injury compensation.
Contact our legal experts to get a free claim assessment, which will establish liability and provide you with a compensation estimate. We can even complete your claim on a no win, no fee* basis. We’re available on 08082391859^ for you to speak to us, no-obligation.
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