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Health & Safety Risks Carpenters Need To Be Aware Of

By Mark McPherson on September 10th, 2022

Tradespeople working in carpentry and joinery jobs face many health and safety risks while carrying out their work. This is why it is essential that anyone working in these professions protect themselves with the correct health and safety awareness training, wear protective clothing and cover themselves with the appropriate level of carpenters’ insurance.

Unfortunately, reducing health and safety woodwork risks doesn’t only extend to protecting yourself from accidents and injuries. It would help if you also thought about those working around you or any people entering your workspace that you may be putting at risk.

For example, suppose you are contracted to build a new kitchen on a domestic property. In that case, you need to ensure you are careful not to leave your tools and equipment lying around, which can cause injury if people trip over them.

Here we look at some of the risks associated with working in this industry to help raise awareness.

What Are The Main Health & Safety Risks For Carpenters & Joiners?

Carpenters and joiners face countless health and safety risks, and many hazards are part of their job because of the nature of the work and the tools and equipment used.

The primary health and safety risks posed to carpenters and joiners include:

1: Manual Handling Injuries:

It is an inevitable part of the job of a carpenter or joiner to lift, carry and move around heavy materials. When hanging doors or installing large panels of wood or heavy framework, you should practice safe lifting techniques. Anything weighing over 20kg will need special lifting gear or assistance from another work colleague to help share the load.

2: Hand & Foot Injuries:

The most common injuries sustained by carpenters and joiners include fractured hands, feet and toes due to crushing and squashing-related accidents. Loss of fingers can also happen due to dangerous or faulty tools or equipment. Nail gun injuries are also common, where nails are accidentally fired through hands and feet.

3: Lacerations & Fractures:

These injuries are easily sustained when you get distracted while working or a lapse in concentration leads you to cut yourself on a blade or sharp object or drop something heavy onto yourself.

4: Slips, Trips & Falls:

Slips and trips are some of the most common risks because they can be the most challenging accidents to avoid. It is easy for you or your co-workers to slip and fall just about anywhere. Most professional work boots have non-slip soles, so it makes sense to wear these to reduce the risks of slipping on wet floors. It can help to reduce trips and falls by keeping your workspace as clutter free as possible throughout the day.

5: Falls From Height:

It is not uncommon for carpenters to work at great height on ladders and scaffolding, especially when working on loft conversions. Falls from a great height are risks that must be mitigated as much as possible to protect you and those around you from serious injury.

6: Improper Use of Machinery & Tools:

Carpenters and joiners use plenty of essential tools and equipment as part of the job. Improper use of tools can cause severe injuries to you and anyone nearby. You must undertake basic training in safe tool and equipment handling. If you are new to the industry, you should never use tools or undertake work for which you have not been trained.

7: Eye Injuries:

You can sustain eye damage from flying objects in the workplace, such as debris, wood fragments, broken tools, grit, dirt and sand. Carpenters and jointers are at most risk from flying debris from the chipping, chiselling, drilling, grinding, sanding and sawing of wood. Even a tiny splinter of wood can cause severe eye damage. Workers should wear protective eyewear while working, such as safety goggles with side shields.

8: Electrical Shocks:

Carpenters and joiners use electrical tools on a daily basis. These tools should be regularly inspected, and tested to check for faults. When working close to power sockets and electrical wiring, you should treat all wires as live unless you have been told otherwise.

9: Injuries Due to Falling Objects:

Even if you are not working at height yourself, you need to be aware of the dangers of falling objects from above. If you are working around scaffolding or other people working at height, HSC woodworking advises wearing a safety helmet and other safety gear. Avoid working directly below someone else where possible. Any tools or materials used by workers at height could fall on you if not appropriately secured.

10: Noise Injuries & Hearing Loss:

Many workplaces where carpenters and joiners work can be loud with noisy machinery and tools in operation for many hours per day. Being exposed to loud, consistent noise can negatively affect your hearing. Long-term noise exposure can result in hearing loss later in life, so it is essential to protect your hearing by wearing ear protection while working in loud workspaces.

11: Exposure to Wood Dust:

Wood dust is a constant health and safety hazard in the workplace. It is an inhalation risk that can cause severe lung and respiratory problems if not handled properly. Prevention is better than cure, so you can avoid inhaling wood dust using local exhaust ventilation devices, dust lamps, construction-grade breathing masks, eye goggles, or face-ventilated face coverings.

What Responsibilities Does A Carpenter Have?

Is carpentry dangerous? Yes, it is! Protecting yourself from slips, trips, and falls will go a long way toward reducing accidents and injuries. However, it is worth taking out public liability insurance for carpenters to help protect you and others around you from the same risks.

Woodworking safety rules don’t just apply to you. If you cause damage to your client’s property or injuries to the public during your work, you will most likely face a compensation claim.

Carpenter’s insurance can be tailored to suit your needs, whether you are a self-employed carpenter working with private clients in their homes or you are part of a construction team working on new-build houses.

How Can I Stay Safe When Woodworking?

Woodworking health and safety practices are essential to protect yourself while at work. This includes keeping up to date with the latest health and safety training and wearing appropriate safety clothing and equipment on-site to reduce physical injuries.

Being mindful of your immediate working environment and packing away unused tools and equipment to keep your area free from tripping hazards will help keep you safe and anyone passing through your workspace.

Conducting a carpentry risk assessment before you accept a job contract can also help to protect you from unnecessary accidents and injuries. If you feel a working environment isn’t safe and there are no safety measures in place you have a right to turn down the work.

Conclusion

Suffering any physical injury while at work can force you to take time away from your job or even be so severe that it can prevent you from performing many of the everyday tasks and activities in your life and work that you take for granted.

Wearing protective clothing and undertaking the correct training can reduce, or eliminate, safety risks. But there will always be some hazards present, so you should protect yourself with carpenters insurance should anything happen that causes an injury to you or anyone around you. At Brisco Business, we believe in proactive risk management. Let us help you identify potential vulnerabilities and mitigate them with the right business insurance.

Mark McPherson

Mark McPherson has an MA in Creative Writing and has been crafting content for over a decade. He writes for a range of niches, including the construction industry and insurance sector.

All articles by Mark McPherson

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