The British Woodworking Federation Group
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Health and Safety Manual

Please note that the BWF Health & Safety Manual is currently under review, following an recent sector update. Please refer to the Wood Safety Group Sector Update for additional guidance on managing dust, health surveillance and noise control. An updated version of the H&S Manual will be available in due course.

Scope and Purpose of the Guide

There is no escaping the fact that, by its very nature, the woodworking industry poses a significant risk of injury to its workers. High speed cutting machinery is inherently dangerous, so small errors or momentary carelessness can have serious consequences. There are also the risks of a factory environment such as noise, dust, slips and trips.
Wood as a raw material also creates its own risk, as no two pieces of wood are the same. Each piece behaves differently when machined or shaped. Knots and natural changes in the direction of the grain can give rise to snatching and kickback of the work piece.

Latest accident information

According to the latest statistics from HSE the woodworking industry has one of the highest accident rates in manufacturing, most of which are caused by contact with moving machinery. This accounted for 25% of all major accidents and one of last year’s two deaths in the woodworking industry.

There is still also a widespread lack of understanding of the importance of occupational health. The industry still concentrates on the traditional “safety” issues rather than those involving “health”.

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