Wood dust is generated in a variety of grinding, sanding, cutting, milling, and debarking operations.
It may be generated in production operations or in other areas, such as carpentry shops, where wood is cut. When handling wood waste and cleaning around operations such as those listed above, the wood particles (Dust) may become airborne.
Employees can breathe wood particles whenever it is generated. The nose filters out larger dust particles, but smaller wood particles may be breathed into your lungs. A respirator may be used to
reduce the amount of dust particles that would be breathed in during dusty operations.
How workers are exposed to wood dust
Individuals who use machinery or tools to cut or shape wood are exposed to wood particles. When the dust is inhaled, it is deposited in the nose, throat, and other airways. Occupations with high exposure to wood particles include sander operators in the transportation equipment industry, press operators in the wood products industry, lathe operators in the furniture industry, and sander operators in the wood cabinet industry.
Risks associated with wood dust
Some of the risk associated with exposure to wood dust are:
- Contact dermatitis
- Eye irritation
- Nasal dryness
- Irritation and obstruction of the respiratory system
Coughing, wheezing, and sneezing are some of the symptoms after exposure to wood dust.
Inhalation of hardwood dusts may decrease the ability of the nose to clear particles, causing any wood dust in the nose to remain longer in the nasal cavity.
Some effects associated with wood particles (Dust) are believed to be due to molds, bacteria, or pesticides present on the wood or to other materials used during certain woodworking activities (e.g. formaldehyde).
What you need to do to manage wood dust
There are things you need to do to eliminate or reduce exposure to wood particles (Dust). Health and safety executive gives details on that. check details here