Geoff's Woodwork

for Students of Woodwork                                          

Working safely and within the law.

In the United Kingdom whenever you are employing anybody, even your family and even if they are only working part time you are required to work within the law. The 'law ' means the Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAWA) guided by the associated Codes of Practice (COP's).  Overseas visitors will find similar regulations in their countries but one countries rules will probably have the same objects - to save life and limbs.

If you are only working on your own in the back of your garage, it is prudent to work within these recommendations because these laws and their recommendations are there to protect you. Generally it is your fingers, lungs, eyes and ears that suffer most. If you are employing someone, and they suffer, it will be your pocket if not liberty that may suffer also.

PUWER 1998

PUWER 1998 i.e. the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, are the UK rules pertaining to the use of woodworking and other machinery and all hand tools used by operators.

Basically it is saying that all operators should be trained in the use of machinery and hand tools, they should be assessed and approved.   Employers are liable for prosecution if their workers have an accident, injure themselves and it is later found that they have not been trained and supervised properly. 

Operators should only use the appropriate and correct machine or tool for the job and only if they have been trained  to use it safely.

The Act also covers the manufacture and supply of safe machinery and requires the use of 'limited cutter projection'  blocks to reduce the severity of accidents.

HSE Web Page

The Health & Safety Executive have a WWW page and it is very good. It includes details of the PUWER and how to comply.

You may down-load their material so that you are aware of all their recommendations to work safely in the woodworking industry.

In addition for the woodworking industry there is a users group called ' The Woodwork National Interest Group (WOODNIG). They publish a news letter periodically giving current information for woodworkers and employers, etc. They also send out information sheets and posters, etc. for the information of operators.

If you are interested go to the Health & Safety Executive link here or write to:

Woodworking National Interest Group, based at the National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2LZ, UK.

Some Useful leaflets for Wood Machine Safety downloadable from the HSE

Safe working at woodworking machines

Circular bench saws

Cross cut saws

Surface planing

Spindle moulder

Moulding cutters

Narrow bandsaw

Single ended tenonner machines

Safe stacking of board materials

Noise at woodworking machines

Wood dust hazards

Toxic wood

COSHH and woodworking industry

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25th September 2007