Wood Working Hazards

19 April 2016 15:53

Health and safety management in the woodworking industry as a whole is very poor. The fatal and major injuries rate is one of the highest for any industry, despite the fact that the hazards are well known, and so are the prevention measures. Sawmills are by far the most dangerous workplaces in the sector, and are increasingly subcontracted and informal, leading to deteriorating conditions for workers. In general outsourcing, temporary and informal contractual arrangements are making it harder for unions to organise and for workers to get their legal rights.

Dust and noise are all too often accepted as just 'part of the job', as a result, millions of workers across the world suffer from predictable and preventable health problems caused by their work. Typically, skin and respiratory problems, long term aches and pain and deafness. The industry relies on the skills of machine operators, rather than the use of proper physical safeguards to prevent accidents and ill health.

There are countless employers who put profits before people and who routinely abuse workers rights. Check the law in your country and see if it can help you to organise. The International Labour Organisation also has a number of International Standards, such as Conventions, Recommendations, Codes of Practice and Guidelines that may help. Some of these are listed here in resources.