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Mauchline, Ayrshire

Company fined £15,000 for wood dust failures.

In June 2022 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) raised concerns about how a firm producing timber barns and stables, protected employees from wood dust exposure.

The company were served with improvement notices requiring them to assess the effectiveness of the local exhaust ventilation (LEV) fitted to a chop saw. They were also instructed to implement additional controls around the use of a table saw.

A later follow up inspection found that the company had failed to take the appropriate steps required to comply with the notices.

As a result they were found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002.

The company was ordered to pay a fine of £15,000 and legal costs of £4,500.

The investigating HSE inspector stated “Compliance could have been achieved by simply getting a LEV fitted to the circular table saw and getting a competent person to undertake a thorough examination and test of the LEV on the chop saw.”

During 2022/23 the HSE found that 78% of the businesses it inspected were not complying with their responsibility to adequately protect workers from wood dust exposure.

Wood dust can cause serious and irreversible health problems such as asthma, dermatitis, and in extreme cases a rare form of nasal cancer.

Managers responsible for work tasks which generate wood dust must ensure that there are adequate controls in place to protect employees and others from the risks. This includes provision of effective extraction systems in workshops or on-tool extraction to reduce wood dust at source.

Contact Compliance LEV for all you local exhaust ventilation needs. Don’t let this be your company.

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