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Control of Wood Dust From Table Saws

image table saw wood dust control

Table saws have been found to create significant amounts of wood dust. Workers exposed to wood dusts have experienced a variety of adverse health effects such as eye and skin irritation, allergy, reduced lung function, asthma, and nasal cancer. Therefore, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health* (NIOSH) recommends limiting wood dust exposures to prevent these health problems.

Wood dust generated by table saws is often poorly controlled. To address this problem, NIOSH researchers have designed and tested a control system for table saws that significantly reduced wood dust emissions.

Local exhaust hood
Table saws are widely used in many types of woodworking operations. Although they are sometimes used only sporadically, they are found to generate significant amounts of dust. The traditional method of dust control for table saws is exhaust through the bottom of the table. This is often not adequate to control the large amounts of high speed dust that are generated by the table saw blade. To better control the dust, NIOSH researchers added a Local Exhaust Hood to the table saw. (See illustration above)

Another table saw modification involved the addition of a divider plate in the table base to increase the exhaust velocity and aid clean out. The table saw exhaust location was also relocated. The exhaust hood, when placed over the top of the table saw blade, contains the dust as it is thrown from the saw blade. Laboratory testing indicates that the exhaust hood reduces wood dust emissions by greater than 90 percent when it is installed on a typical table saw. The hood is designed so that it will not interfere with the table saw operator's activities, is easy to install and maintain, and is inexpensive to operate. This dust control device is not currently commercially available. Call NIOSH for more information at:1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674).

NIOSH is the Federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for preventing work related illness and injuries. HAZARD CONTROLS are based on research studies that show reduced worker exposure to hazardous agents or activities.

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