Workers who are exposed to wood dust would be wise to wear dust masks at all times. When cutting studs for wall framing, for instance, each cut may not feel like it’s that harmful. Over time, though, the air near the saw becomes filled with wood dust that workers will inhale with every breath.
This is even more problematic in enclosed spaces. For example, cabinet markers may work in a woodshop, not the open-air venue of a construction site. This means that the dust can saturate that air and have nowhere to go, making it easier to breathe dust even when doing smaller jobs.
Is this dust dangerous? It’s easy to overlook, especially when just making a few cuts, but OSHA warns that it can turn into a “potential health problem.” Breathing the dust can lead to issues like:
- Allergic respiratory symptoms
- Non-allergic respiratory symptoms
- Mucosal respiratory symptoms
You may also want to consider what type of wood you are working with. If you’re just cutting raw, untreated timber, the dust is actually wood dust. If you’re cutting treated wood, though, the dust then contains the chemicals added to the boards to keep them from rotting. If the wood is stained, painted, or covered in polyurethane, the same is true. This could lead to increased hazards depending on what is actually being inhaled.
Workers who are exposed to health hazards on the job may develop serious illnesses that can keep them out of work. They need to know about all of the rights they may have to workers’ compensation to help with these costs. If you’re struggling to get a workers’ comp claim approved, find out how an attorney may be able to help.