WorkSafe to Address Wood Dust Respiratory Risks in Cabinetmaking SectorIn 2008/09 when the then Department of Labour (DoL) looked at this issue their wish was to lower the permissible Workplace Exposure Standard (WES) for softwood dust from 5mg/m³ to 1mg/m³ in line with international best practice. Their reasons were;
- Human studies on the health effects from chronic inhalation of soft and mixed wood dusts indicate adverse health effects including; impaired lung functions at concentrations below 5mg/m³.
- In industries where a variety of wood types are commonly used, different WESs for hard and soft woods can be problematic in terms of exposure monitoring.
- A WES of 1mg/m³ is being considered as this level is intended to prevent decreases in pulmonary function.
- Concern at the lack of evidence from DoL to support change
- No indication of significant long term damage to health from employees working in the affected areas of interest
- A reduction in dust levels will result in significant costs to update/replace machinery.
- The many small companies in the industry will ignore the reduced standard as they could not afford to update their machinery.
- Considerable pressure on the industry from low cost imported furniture and a downturn in consumer spending is leading to a reduction in the number of companies operating in the industry.
- The reduction is seen as another compliance cost imposed on industry.
- Articulate common wood dust risks
- Articulate a range of control measures that could help manage these risks effectively
- Develop clear and simple guidance to educate the industry
- Identify ways to remove barriers that may prevent industry employers from managing the risks of wood dust.
Trackback from your site.