Woodworker with occupational asthma can no longer play football


A joiner who developed occupational asthma had worked with the symptoms of the disease for a year before he was diagnosed. Although his employer had provided dust extraction on the woodworking machines it had not been maintained. As a result it did not work properly so did not control his exposure to wood dust.

This led to loss of earnings, loss of lifestyle and a permanent debilitating illness.

HSE investigation

To get his employer to take his health problems seriously, the joiner had to involve his trade union safety representative.

HSE's investigations led to upgrading of the dust extraction equipment, which may have prevented others from being affected.


While it was wood dust that caused his occupational asthma, his lungs were damaged and other 'triggers' now cause an attack - such as exercise and cold air. His lifestyle has completely changed.

He used to enjoy playing football and playing with his children. He now finds that running and lifting his daughter bring on wheezing. Everyday activities are increasingly difficult.

The Your trade section of this site provides top tips and advice on how to protect yourself if you are a woodworker.

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