Over the past several years there has been an increase in inspection activity and updates of dust collection systems for Industrial Arts (“IA”) facilities located in many high schools and middle schools. Exposure to wood dust has long been associated with a variety of adverse health effects, including dermatitis, allergic respiratory effects, mucosal, and non-allergenic respiratory effects.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (“IRAC”) has classified wood dust as a carcinogenic to humans. A study completed in 1965 observed that a large number of furniture workers and other wood workers exposed to wood dust in England developed a rare form of nasal cancer (Adenocarcinoma).
All safety programs should have policies and procedures, as well as references to documentation such as local Occupational, Health & Safety Act’s and Regulation’s. Safety programs should include an ongoing risk analysis system, which accumulates information progressively, noting potential risky and hazardous operations with specific plans in place to mitigate potential injury and property loss.
Basic Safety – Reducing exposures to wood dust
- Standard ventilation (dust-control systems) should be provided.
- Dust-control systems should be cleaned, inspected, and maintained on a regular basis.
- Filter masks should be worn.
- Eye and face protection should always be provided.
- Type of wood (species) should be investigated before use to ensure it is safe to use in a school environment.
Stay informed. Many changes take place on a regular basis relative to safety equipment, dust mitigation practices and identified health concerns. Talk to risk management professionals – people in your industry and various other organizations. Suncorp Valuations has experienced personnel that can assist with Loss Control inspection and implementation.
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