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Reducing the impact of wood dust

26th March 2019

Wood dust and noise are two of the most common occupational health issues which affect workers within our sector. Every year thousands of construction workers contract respiratory diseases due to breathing in dust and fumes, while working and 23.5 million working days are lost in the UK due to work-related ill health each year.

As you will be aware, the Work Place Exposure (WEL) for hardwood dust is being reduced to 2mg/m3. Most TRA members do not process hardwoods so this  should not be a major issue. However, it has recently been made clear that the HSE Future Enforcement Strategy will look to apply the same limit (2mg/m3) to softwood dust.

This change to softwood dust enforcement does create an issue for truss manufacturers as one of our principle pieces of equipment, the multiblade truss saw, has a moveable cutting head, which makes the enclosure and extraction of wood dust challenging.

Therefore, employee testing is a critical element of a company’s wood dust and noise control strategy. This is because it establishes a baseline of health when employment first commences, and over time, to ensure that working conditions are not adversely impacting on worker health.

With this in mind the TRA is looking to work in partnership with the ELAS Group, who provide a mobile screening service, to ensure that members have access to all the relevant information regarding the increased wood dust enforcement.

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Trussed Rafter Association