Four-fold reduction to Wood Dust Workplace Exposure Standard
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 -
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
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.
I would firstly like to know the evidence of the relative amounts of increased deaths or respiratory disease (nasal cancer) in NZ supporting this?
And, If applied I don't think not many companies, schools or other organisations would be able to substantiate paying for upgraded extraction to meet the new exposure standards
My hobby is wood turning, in this case its very important to protect yourself, I do....but a lot of others don’t, I believe simply through lack of knowledge that industry needs to improve including the wood working class rooms, these are the younger generation how can we not protect them what ever the cost ?
I'm started my career as a cabinet maker, did a 10 year apprenticeship in the UK and regularly give advice to schools on managing risks in their hard tech rooms etc.
The problem is as you've indicated is a lack of knowledge in many areas on a campus, but also a lack of money as school try to offset some of their general budget, but simply can't cope with old buildings, asbestos, storage of chemicals etc etc
I agree whole heartily but on one thing COSTS, I don’t think that the costs are prohibitive in the long term, less drain on public health dealing with the popolations lung issues, I say target the highest risk areas first, if that’s woodworking class rooms then start there. Consider school hockey, watching my 11 year old there's plenty spent on providing safety equipment now, spare face shields at the back of the net for the whole team for when corners are taken, goalie has full protection, this is nothing like when we used to play with back in the late 80's, kids are much safer now.
Anyone wishing to participate in Worksafe's online consultation for the proposed amendment to the Wood Dust WES, please direct message me your email address. I have two documents put together by the Wood Processors & Manufacturers Association which I would like to share with you;
- a WES Review fact sheet and a Consultation Questions guide.
The deadline for the consultation is 5pm on 7 August.
Could we have a copy please Michelle
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