The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) is urging companies to ensure all necessary health and safety precautions are in place in the wake of a number of surprise HSE inspections of the sector.
As part of its inspections of the joinery sector, the HSE will be looking at appropriate guarding on machinery, what personal protective equipment is available, whether Local Exhaust Ventilation is being regularly tested, and whether full risk assessments are being completed. Failure to meet these requirements could result in hefty fines.
To prepare businesses for a potential visit from the HSE, the BWF has produced a guide to help understand the essentials. The guide acts as a checklist and offers advice on health and safety policies, risk assessments, formal health and safety training and also how to report health and safety incidents or issues. Maintenance of woodworking machinery and dust extraction procedures are also covered.
Iain McIlwee, BWF Chief Executive, said: “It is imperative that joinery businesses have all of the correct procedures and paperwork in place as non-compliance puts safety at risk and could result in charges of up to £1,000 per day from the HSE. We are urging members to take notice of this guidance, which should already be adhered to. As the HSE has earmarked the joinery and woodworking sector as a high-risk industry, everybody should be doing what they can to ensure health and safety comes first.”
It is understood that between a quarter and a third of all inspections completed since October 2012, when the HSE’s fees were introduced, have found a material breach resulting in approximately 1,400 invoices being issued to businesses where HSE is the enforcing authority. This figure is growing.
Download the Essential Health & Safety Checklist can be downloaded here