Carpenters, Woodworkers Urged to Spare the Broom Over Asthma Fears

by VR Sreeraman on Jul 20 2008 12:04 PM

British health officials have asked carpenters and woodworkers not to use brooms to sweep up sawdust because they are considered dangerous.

Under the "ridiculous" new health and safety guidelines sweeping up wood chippings in dusty workplaces can provoke asthma attacks and long-term exposure leading to nose cancer.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are advising carpentry firms to buy state-of-the-art vacuum cleaners and air purification systems, which can cost thousands of pounds.

Small companies say they cannot afford the equipment but are repeatedly nagged to upgrade during safety checks.

Sherry Coles, who deals with health and safety for Shapet Joinery in Bristol, said the firm has been using brooms for 25 years without incident.

"Brooms are a quick and easy way of cleaning up and we've been using them for 25 years now without any problems," Telegraph quoted her, as saying.

"We're aware of the sweeping guidelines but as a small company we have limited resources and can't meet it 100 per cent.

"I know health and safety is important for employees but I believe in the future you won't be able to sneeze without filling in a form.

"People should be allowed to use their own initiative and common sense. If you had dust in your house you would just sweep it up. It's getting beyond a joke," she added.