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Timber and Woodmachine/Mill Training & Courses

Do I need to provide refresher training?
Yes. Skills can decline over time, particularly if not used regularly. And standards change from time to time. Regular uses of machinery should receive refresher training at least every five years, irregular users at least every 3 years.

Do I have to  authorise someone to use a woodworking machine?
Guards and protective devices rarely eliminate all risk on woodworking machines so the law states that only people who have received sufficient information, instruction and training to enable them to carry out the work safely should operate such machines. Authorising such individuals to use certain machines is one way of satisfying the law. The authorisation should list those machines and operations for which authorisation is given. 

What braking is required for compliance?

The Woodworking ACOP requires that from December 2008, the following machines are now braked. circular saw benches; dimension saws; powered and hand-fed cross-cut saws (unless there is no risk of contact with the blade during rundown); single-end and double-end tenoning machines; and combined machines incorporating a circular saw and/or tenoning attachment. narrow band saws; re-saws; vertical spindle moulding machines (unless fitted with a manual or foot-operated brake); hand-fed routing machines; thicknessing machines; planing /thicknessing machines; and surface planing machines.

What should a typical woodmachine / timber machine operator training scheme include?

An individual will have been adequately trained when they have completed a training scheme that includes the following: General The importance of good housekeeping. Avoiding horseplay. Isolation procedures before adjusting or maintaining the machine. Awareness of common dangers like taking off, dropping-on and kickback. How to report faults. Machine-specific The main causes of accidents at the machine. The tasks it is designed for. What procedures require additional guards or jigs etc. Safe working practices. How to use and adjust guards. How to use protection devices and appliances. How to select and fit tooling correctly. Stopping procedures including the use of brakes where fitted. Personal protective equipment requirements, eg hearing protection, eye protection. Health risks and how to control them, eg dust extraction. Job-specific (familiarisation) Training specific to the particular job or task under close supervision (ie on-the-job training). 

Which machines need Limited cutter projection Tooling (LCPT) (also known as chip limited tooling)

The Woodworking Approved Code of Practice requires the following hand-fed machines to be used with LCPT:  vertical spindle moulding machines (regardless of whether they have a power feed), single end tenoners rotary knife and copy lathes (unless guarded by fixed and/or interlocked guards that prevent risk from ejection and contact with the tool)  any other machine on which a moulding tool can be fitted, eg pull over cross-cut saws What does LCPT look like?. On round-form tools LCPT can be achieved by either:  Restricting the projection of the cutter beyond the round profile of the tool to a maximum of 3mm / Using a limiter which mirrors the cutter so that the cutter projects a maximum of 1.1mm beyond the limiter.   On non-round form tools o The cutters should project a maximum of 1.1mm beyond the edge of the tool body or limiter. NB The limiter must be mounted so that it travels in front of its associated cutter. It is easy to mount the cutter to rotate in the wrong direction. This will almost certainly cause an accident. 

What records do I need to keep?

You are recommended to keep a list of authorised operators with the type(s) of machine on which each operator has proven competence, and how and when their competence was assessed. A copy of the authorisation should be given to the operator for their personal record. In an individuals file it is recommended that you keep a record of any training, typically this might include a certificate of training, a report on the operator during training, a copy of any practical and knowledge (Theory) test sheets, the elements of the training programme. If training is outsourced, a record of the training company & contact details.

Why can't I use my traditional �Whitehill� blocks any more? New tooling designs carry three safety benefits over blocks used in the past. 1. The limitation of cutter blade projection dramatically reduces the severity of injury for operators if they contact the rotating tooling. We have had several anecdotal accounts from people who would have had very serious injuries if they had not replaced their old tooling with chip limited tooling. Instead of amputated fingers, they got away with lacerations and stitches. 2. The chip limiter restricts the depth that the cutter can bite into the timber so �kick backs� are less severe. (People tell us that they also give a better finish, reducing the amount of sanding that has to be done.) 3. LCPT tools have a secondary means of securing the cutters into the tooling body so preventing ejection. Ejection was commonplace on older style cutters which were held in place by friction clamping only.

Why do managers and supervisors need to be trained?

Although they may not need the same level of technical expertise as a fully trained skilled machinist, they: must be able to recognise unsafe practices and be familiar with modern standards. need to understand how to organise the flow of work so that it minimises handling and high-risk tasks, eg planing short lengths of timber. may, without up-to-date training, pass on bad habits and short cuts which increase the risk of accidents.

What are the basic things I need to know about wood dust / extraction (AKA LEV)

Both hardwood and softwood dusts have a Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) of 5mg/m3 which must not be exceeded. WELs are limits on concentrations of dust in the air, averaged over 8 hours. But because wood dust is an asthmagen, exposure must be reduced as low as is reasonably practicable. Provide dust extraction (also known as local exhaust ventilation or LEV) at woodworking machines to remove dust before it can get breathed in. Keep the extraction and collection system maintained to make sure it continues to work efficiently. It is a legal requirement to have dust extraction equipment examined by a competent person at least every 14 months. (Your insurers or LEV supplier may have competent persons who can do this for you.) Use a vacuum system to clear up wood dust � either a free standing vacuum cleaner or preferably a vacuum pipe attached to your extraction system. Vacuum cleaners should be suitable and have a HEPA filter. For particularly dusty tasks such as sanding use RPE as well as LEV.

Who by law needs to be trained?

Anyone who uses woodworking machinery including machine operators and assistants (those helping to feed or take off), and those supervising or managing them - are required by law to be adequately trained for the purposes of health and safety.