Our aim was to reduce the volume of harmful wood dust polluting the atmosphere in the area where our carpenters are working to a level as low as ‘reasonably practical’.
Wood dust has a Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) of 5mg/m3 and can cause asthma, nasal cancer, emphysema, etc., when inhaled in large quantities for prolonged periods.
To reduce the risk, on the BDU site we have introduced a combination of an on-tool dust extraction unit along with the wearing of a half mask, which requires no face-fit training, fitted with replaceable twin P3 particle filters to be worn when using a circular saw for cutting ply and timber.
A 3m x 2m container was converted to create a ‘Cutting Station’, where sawing could take place in an enclosed space, to further prevent airborne dust particles being carried by winds and polluting the atmosphere across the site.
Inside the cutting station a line was fixed overhead, which the hose and extension power cable for the saw were fixed to and keeping them from the floor, thus removing the trip hazard they cause.
Operatives must ensure masks are worn at all times when working in the cutting station.
The use of the on-tool extraction unit fitted to the circular saw greatly reduced the volume of the harmful airborne dust particles created during the cutting of ply and timber, whilst the use of the half masks allowed the carpenters to work safely in an enclosed area.
Carrying out all sawing in a confined space reduced the volume of wind blown dust polluting the atmosphere around site, reducing the risk to all staff in the vicinity.
Another benefit of the cutting taking place in one enclosed space is that the majority of dust and chippings created are kept in.