Power tool provider Festool has been offering visitors to its exhibition stand at W16 the chance to check the health of their lungs to raise awareness about the risks of dust inhalation.
It may be an unusual occurrence at a woodworking trade show, but it is perhaps also rather apt, so on Monday and Tuesday the company provided the free screening in support of the British Lung Foundation’s (BLF) Love Your Lungs campaign,
Festool’s association with the BLF is part of its own ‘Giving You Time’ dust extraction campaign, which aims to promote the benefits of working safely with dust, an issue that is prevalent in the woodworking industry.
The health benefits of dust extraction are widely recognised, but many choose to ignore them due to other factors, the company claims. Wood dust is a significant contributor to asthma and carpenters are four times more likely to contract asthma compared with other UK workers.
Asthma is a long-term condition whereby airways become overly sensitive to certain triggers. These triggers, including wood dust, cause airways to become inflamed and tighten when breathing.
The inhalation of wood dust is also thought to be associated with the development of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a type of lung disease which causes a build-up of scar tissue in the lungs. This limits their ability to inflate and hence the ability to breathe.
Around 32,500 people in the UK live with IPF, and research from the BLF finds that it is a cause of death for over 5,300 people per year.
Dr Penny Woods, the BLF’s chief executive, said: “Prevention of lung disease is a cornerstone of our work. We are pleased to work with Festool to promote safe working practices and preventative healthcare. We want to make sure that all tradespeople – with a focus on carpenters – are aware of the dangers of inhaling dust from wood and stone, so it’s great that we are working with Festool to raise awareness of occupational risks and how to avoid them.”
The health risks associated with wood dust inhalation can all be dramatically reduced with the use of a dust extractor, the company said, as this removes harmful particles at the source. This means that dust never comes into contact with the nose, airways or lungs.
Jonathon Burcham, Festool’s marketing manager said: “Our aim with Festool’s ‘giving you time’ campaign is to drive home the key benefits of dust extraction in a way that will resonate with every tradesperson in one way or another: safety, efficiency and longevity.”