The furniture manufacturing industry is one which is rife with the highest accident rates.

From back injuries to respiratory problems, workers in the furniture industry should take extra care.

An exclusive article for Furniture Production by a specialist from Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) has elaborated on the main risks within the industry.

Manuel lifting

Manuel handling is unavoidable in this industry and sometimes to the detriment of workers. Tasks which involve handling timber, board material, machinery, assembly and the storage of the products can pose serious hazards.

These can typically include back injuries, sprains, strains along with lacerations and fractures.

Substances

Products used for finishing purposes such as paints, lacquers and glues can lead to the worker being exposed to wood dust. This can lead to immediate and long-term respiratory problems and conditions such as dermatitis.

Wood dust can also be the cause of asthma, with carpenters and joiners four times more likely to develop such a health problem in comparison to other UK workers. Hardwood dust can be the cause of cancer, particularly in the nose.

Coming into regular contact with varnishes, paints, thinners and stains could cause liver and kidney problems too.

Noise

You can imagine the extent of the noise when working in furniture production industry. Enduring long periods of noise on a regular basis can lead to temporary hearing loss and the worst case scenario is permanent damage.

An employer is legally obliged to ensure the safety of staff in the workplace. The aforementioned risks can be reduced by undertaking health and safety measures.

A responsible manufacturer should complete a risk assessment in order to minimise all associated risks.

Health and safety regulations should also be enforced to protect employees, the public where necessary and the surrounding environment.

Control measures can be put in place to safeguard employees against potentially very serious injuries.

Not adhering to guidelines set out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can bring serious consequences not just for the worker but also the employer.

If your employer has breached any aspect of their legal duty of care or you were injured due to the negligence of another member of staff you may be entitled to compensation, which Lampkin & Co Solicitors can pursue on your behalf as part of an accident at work claim.