- Safety and Health Topics
- Wood Dust
Wood dust becomes a potential health problem when wood particles from processes such as sanding and cutting become airborne. Breathing these particles may cause allergic respiratory symptoms, mucosal and non-allergic respiratory symptoms, and cancer. The extent of these hazards and the associated wood types have not been clearly established.
Exposures to wood dust are addressed in specific OSHA standards for General Industry.
Provides web pages that list different types of woods and provide information about each one and how they may affect humans.
Provides information about evaluating the level of wood dust in the workplace.
Provides resources that contain information to help control exposures to wood dust.
Provides links and references to additional resources related to exposures to wood dust.
Workers have the right to:
- Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
- Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA’s rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
- Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.
For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.
How to Contact OSHA
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.
- Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (Reissued). OSHA Directive CPL 03-00-008, (March 11, 2008). Contains policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces that create or handle combustible dusts.
- Wood Products: Sawmills. OSHA eTool. Provides an interactive web-based training tool on the hazards associated with working in sawmills. Includes a section on wood dust and provides information on topics such as lumber storage, log handling, and plant-wide hazards.
- Wood Products: Woodworking. OSHA eTool. Provides an interactive web-based training tool on the hazards associated with woodworking. Proposes measures to prevent those hazards, and contains modules specific to wood dust as a health hazard plantwide as well as when it is associated with rough mill and production work.