• Michelle Dykstra
    Worksafe plan to dramatically reduce the Workplace Exposure Standard for wood dust.
    There is opportunity to provide feedback to Worksafe through a limited consultation process before the deadline on 7 August 2019.

    If the proposed new limit is introduced, New Zealand will be held to the strictest standard for wood dust in the world. Up until now, we have had separate limits for hard wood and soft wood dust, in recognition of the greater risks associated with hard wood dust.

    It is my view that many timber manufacturing businesses, including those with robust cleaning and extraction measures in place, will find the proposed limit very difficult, costly, if not impossible to meet. This is especially the case as the sampling method does not differentiate between wood dust and other dust.

    I question the application of a combined hard and soft wood limit, in our country with such a large proportion of timber manufacturing based on Pinus Radiata which soft-wood.

    To read about the proposed new exposure standard - https://worksafe.govt.nz/laws-and-regulations/consultations/workplace-exposure-standards-changes-2019/

    The online consultation form states four questions, each followed by an opportunity to make further comment. These are:
    "Do you agree with the proposed 8-hour WES-TWA value of 0.5mg/m3?"
    "Do you think exposures below the proposed 8-hour WES-TWA value are feasible to achieve?"
    "Do you agree with the proposed adoption of the 'sen' [sensitiser] notation for all wood species?"
    "Is the sampling and/or analytical method(s) appropriate?"

    Many thanks to @Stuart Keer-Keer for bringing the WES changes and consultation to our attention through his previous forum discussion.

    As a H&S generalist, I would find it interesting to have wider discussion and perspective on this topic including feedback from those who manage H&S risk in timber manufacturing and those who work in occupational hygiene.
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