To reduce the chances of an accident occurring, it’s best to look at what might cause one and then decide what you need to do to stop it happening. The best way to do this is by a risk assessment. We’ve prepared a range of resources to help you do this. They include:
- Example risk assessment for a woodworking company
- DVD: Health and safety in the woodworking industry
- Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (ACOP) [2.97MB] Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 as applied to woodworking machinery. Includes guidance on the protection of young people, instruction and training.
- Model assessment sheets for high-risk hand-fed woodworking machines:
What HSE inspectors look for
Assessment of the workshop
Conditions will vary from clean to workshops where machines are buried under dust and off-cuts. The general tidiness is often a good barometer of how well other issues are being managed.
Machinery should all be well maintained and have the correct safeguards. It should also only be used by those competent to do so and there should be evidence available to prove this. Inspectors will also look at braking and tooling as well as any other safety issues such as work at height and transport. There should also be good control of health risks from wood dust (asthma, dermatitis), manual handling and noise, etc…..
Assessment of paperwork
Inspectors will ask to see copies of COSHH and risk assessments (if more than 5 employed), and health surveillance records (or summaries).
Note: only low-level health surveillance (questionnaire based) is required for general wood dust. However, high-level health surveillance must be in place where there is exposure to high risk woods like Western Red Cedar.
There should be evidence of maintenance and test records for any extraction equipment and written instructions provided to employees covering:
- Training and supervision for machinery
- Information on health hazards (i.e. asthma and dermatitis) and what to do about them (control, signs and symptoms and reporting them)
- How to use extraction properly and use and care for dust masks etc.
- How to clean up properly