Wood Dust Exposure Monitoring

Management of wood dust affects all wood industry businesses.
Health and safety management systems, procedures and control measures required will need to develop to aid compliance with the lowering of workplace exposure limits from 2020.
At present the UK has the following workplace exposure limits (WEL) for wood dust:
  • Softwood – 5mg m³ 8hr TWA
  • Hardwood – 5mg m³ 8hr TWA
From January 2020 this will change for hardwood and mixed dust waste to:
  • Hardwood – 3mg m³ 8hr TWA
  • Mixed wood dust – 3mg m³ 8hr TWA
A further lowering will occur in 2024 to:
  • Hardwood – 2mg m³ 8hr TWA
  • Mixed wood dust – 2mg m³ 8hr TWA
Guidance under; Regulation 10 of The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health states:
Exposure monitoring is necessary if;
  • The risk assessment made under regulation 6(1) shows that an initial exploratory monitoring exercise is necessary to reach an informed and valid judgement about the risks;
  • measurement is required to be sure that a WEL or any self-imposed (in-house) exposure standard is not exceeded.
Exposure monitoring is the only way to achieve indicative confirmation of current levels of exposure. Only then will businesses be able to look at what improvements may be necessary to aid compliance with the new lower limits.
Didac are able to offer indicative monitoring using the latest laser monitoring equipment. This equipment allows instant reporting of levels measured as opposed to more expensive gravimetric monitoring which may only be necessary in areas where control is less defined.
The laser probe is deployed around operator work stations much like a noise meter. Dust particles passing through the laser probe are counted and recorded to give a measure against the WEL and an averaged measure to simulate a working shift at that continued level.
Results will help identify well controlled tasks and additionally those that may require improvement. All results will be presented in a report format will guidance where possible on potential ways to improve following the standard hierarchy of control.

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