How Much Exposure to Wood Dust Is Dangerous?

Our team are often approached by prospective clients all asking the same question: how much exposure to wood dust is dangerous? Here at Extractly, we work with facility managers to mitigate the risks associated with wood dust exposure.

Our industry leading dust extraction systems provide an effective solution against this harmful carcinogen. We provide expert results that help to combat the generation of wood dust. Exposure is dangerous, and a facility that does not enforce procedures is not compliant with workplace regulations. Continue below where we explore how much exposure to wood dust is dangerous

Is Wood Dust Dangerous: An Overview 

You only need to consider the existence of the COSHH regulations to understand the risks associated with wood dust exposure. Since 2002, the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) law has made it a legal requirement for employers to effectively plan against, and mitigate, the risks associated with substances that are hazardous to the health of a facility’s employees. 

So, is wood dust dangerous? Evidence would suggest so. The government’s health and safety sector, tasked with enforcing COSHH regulations, stipulates that wood dust needs to be safely managed in the workplace. This is especially true for hard wood dust, which poses a greater threat to health and is closely linked to cancer and other health issues. 

How Much Exposure to Wood Dust Is Dangerous - A Breakdown

If you are an employer or owner of a facility that has to navigate wood dust exposure, you may be wondering ‘’how much exposure to wood dust is dangerous’’. Thankfully, there are a wealth of resources out there that can help you stay compliant and protect the safety of your workforce. WEL, or Workplace Exposure Limit, outlines in detail the recommended exposure limit.

Wood dust created from hardwood trees and softwood trees is different, and the risks associated vary. As stated, research indicates that exposure to hard wood dust may be significantly more harmful than exposure to soft wood dust. In either case, links have been made between those who develop cancer of the nose and sinuses. 

So, how much wood dust is dangerous? Government guidance for exposure outlines the following: 

  • The WEL for hardwood dust is 3mg/m3 (based on an 8-hour time-weighted average)
  • The WEL for softwood dust is 5mg/m3 (based on an 8-hour time-weighted average)

    Wood Dust Mitigation With Extractly 

    Although the most distressing, cancer is not the only health concern associated with wood dust exposure. Other health issues found in those that are continually exposed include decreased lung function, coughing, wheezing, itching, respiratory allergies and dermatitis. 

    We would always provide the same transparency and insight to anyone asking ‘’is wood dust harmful’’. Although exposure can be detrimental to your facility’s productivity, as well as the health and safety of your staff, there are options. 

    Our team of consultants and engineers specialise in the design and installation of dust extraction systems. If you are concerned that your premises does not meet COSHH requirements, we encourage you to contact us today. We can perform a full audit and assessment of your facility, and will provide you with an outline of our findings as well as recommendations.