Today is World Asthma Day. Occupational asthma is often overlooked resulting in debilitating health conditions for workers, devastating for them and their families. Take today to look again at your business operations and decide if occupational asthma is a hazard for your firm.

Occupational lung diseases and their symptoms ruin lives, but are preventable if the correct control measures are in place and maintained effectively.

The risk of life-threatening occupational lung disease is higher for some types of work. Exposure to certain dusts, gases, fumes and vapours in the workplace can cause irreversible lung damage if the risks are not effectively managed and controlled.

HSE’s website has guidance and advice to help employers fulfil their legal duty to protect their workers’ health and prevent work-related lung disease.

Wood dust and occupational lung disease

If woodwork is not planned correctly, there are risks to workers’ health and safety. This includes the inhalation of wood dust that can cause occupational asthma and, in the case of hardwoods, sinonasal cancer.

The woodworking industry is currently being targeted as part of a year-long inspection programme across Great Britain.

HSE is inspecting woodworking businesses to ensure dutyholders know the established health risks associated with woodworking, including wood dust, and have effective controls in place to keep workers safe and protect their respiratory health.

We encourage all businesses to review the HSE’s refreshed woodworking guidance to ensure you are managing the risks.

HSE’s website has a range of resources, including case studies and top tips for woodworking:
Woodworker – common causes of asthma
Health and safety in the woodworking industry