Health and safety in the woodworking industry

BACK 22-08-2016

HSE New Strategy - Helping Great Britain Work Well

HSE's Woodworking Website

Great Britain’s health and safety record is the envy of much of the world. Central to this is protecting people by managing risk in a proportionate and effective way, supporting innovation and increasing productivity.  Visit HSE's Website to view The Strategy Document. 

The Document focuses on six strategic themes.

There is also a Social Media Pack you can download to become involved in the Strategy.

Implementing the Strategy - Inspection plan 2016-2017

Poorly controlled worker exposure to Wood Dust is one of the top eight causes of occupational asthma in the UK and in addition to asthma poorly controlled exposure to hard wood dust can cause nasal cancer. Carpenters and joiners are four times more likely to suffer from these diseases than other UK workers and HSE estimates that each year 50 new cases of occupational asthma are caused by poorly controlled exposure to wood dust.

HSE is undertaking a programme of proactive inspections between July and the end of September. The inspection focus is on ensuring workplaces are adequately controlling worker exposure to wood dust by ensuring the appropriate controls - typically effective local exhaust ventilation - are in place. 

More information on the inspection programme can be found in the Operational Guidance.

HSE's Woodworking Website has more information on exposure limits and what control measures you need to put in place to achieve them.

Fines & Prosecutions

Fine after deaths at Merseyside woodchip factory

Two North West companies have been fined following the death of two workers at a Merseyside woodchip factory when carrying out maintenance work on a conveyor belt at the factory. More information on the accident and fine can be found on HSE's Press Release,

Employee loses the tips of two fingers on band saw

A company who are fabricators of ducting for the building industry have been fined after a worker lost the tips of two fingers while working with a band saw. More information on the accident and fine can be found on HSE's Press Release.

Visit HSE's Woodworking Website for more information on Woodcutting Machinery.

Three companies fined after two accidents at Suffolk furniture company

Two incidents have led to three companies being fined for health and safety failings. One accident was on a biscuit cutter, the other on an overhead router.  More information can be found on HSE's Press Release.

Joinery company fined

A Dorset based joinery company has been fined after a sub-contractor fell through a window opening to the floor below suffering three severe fractures.  More information on the accident and fine can be found on HSE's Press Release.

Somerset timber company fined

A Timber company based in Somerset has been sentenced for safety failings relating to a construction project. An investigation by the HSE found that work at height had not been properly planned or carried out safely and the company did not have suitable and sufficient measures to prevent workers from falling and sustaining injury. More information on the prosecution can be found on HSE's Press Release.

For more information on safety whilst working at height visit HSE's WAH Webpages.