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Breath of fresh air for wood workers

wood works

It was just over a year ago when Mark Fletcher, managing director of recycling and ventilation engineering company Fercell, came across London Reclaimed after reading about it in a local maga­zine. Inspired by the work the charity was doing and its ethos, Fletcher wanted to help it to go even further.

London Reclaimed started as an employment charity, and now operates two businesses: Gold­finch Furniture and Lumberjack Café. Goldfinch provides a trainee programme where young people can work and earn for a year, pro­ducing custom-made furniture from locally sourced timber.

When a tree falls down in Lon­don, Goldfinch lumbers it where it lays before the wood is milled and kiln-dried on-site. The cycle is completed with a new tree being planted somewhere in the capital, where needed.

To help improve Goldfinch’s efficiency as a business and pro­vide a comfortable working environment for its young employ­ees, Fercell suggested the installa­tion of a bespoke dust extraction system. It consists of a centralised duct system with multi-breather dust collector, all of which was installed and commissioned by Fercell engineers.

planning in factor

planning in factor

Goldfinch’s original local exhaust ventilation arrangements were a series of small mobile filter units, which took up valuable floor space and were noisy. By installing a correctly sized and balanced centralised galvanised steel duct­ing system and a single dust col­lector, Goldfinch has increased usable floor space and improved the working environment, with improved dust control and noise reduction.

Fletcher said: “To be able to help a concern like London Re-claimed, which is getting young people on to the business ladder and setting them up for the future, is a real honour. It is investing in the workforce of tomorrow and in the environment, which is rewarding for us to support.”

For Goldfinch, whose vision and ethos is centred on investing in their staff ’s health and their future, the ventilation system was a no-brainer.

Director Mike Biddulph said: “Working alongside Fercell has been an absolute pleasure. We have some exciting plans for the future, including expanding the milling side of the business and investing further in the Grade A hard wood that is left to rot across London.

“Fercell is 100% in our plans to grow our business.”

Controlling the risks of wood dust

risk of wood dust

risk of wood dust

In addition to the tiny particles of wood produced during processing, wood dust can also contain bacteria and fungal and moss spores. The quantity and type of wood dust will depend on the wood being cut and the machine being used – for example: whether the timber is green or seasoned, whether it is a hardwood, softwood or composite board and how aggressive the machine cutter or blade profile is. The biggest risk is from fine dust because it can be breathed deep into the lungs, where it will do the most damage. Fine dust will also spread further from the cutting process, so it is important to clean ledges and other workroom surfaces regularly to prevent dust accumulating. Because of the potential health problems, wood dust is covered by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.

Natalie Owen is marketing exec­utive at Fercell Engineering

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