My son bought some work home from his school woodwork class, he'd been sanding, drilling and cutting MDF with a bandsaw. They don't wear masks, I,m a carpenter and am surprised there using it seeing that the dust is quite dangerous?
MDF in woodwork lesson.
!!! Either the school is very lax about RA & SOP or the teacher had his mind elsewhere.
Seems odd - would have expected them to use appropriate ppe for all their work and surely there's a teaching opportunity in what kit you need when.
Yeah, might be worth raising. The teacher may not have read the RA for MDF.
Bit of formaldehyde never hurt anyone.
The Design and Technology Teachers Association (DATA) published the following advice re:MDF
"Is MDF safe to use?
Much media attention has been drawn towards MDF and the hazards associated with its use in schools. The D&T Association has no evidence from either HSE or the Education Service Advisory Committee (ESAC), which leads us at present to call for MDF to be removed from use in schools. We however welcome the decision by the HSE to fund a research project at De Montfort University. Hardwood dust is classified in COSHH as carcinogenic, and softwood is now a suspect carcinogen, although not defined as such in COSHH. Thus under risk assessment procedures substitution by natural wood may not eliminate the problem. The D&T Association's advice to schools: 1. A high level of cleaning of the teaching environment must take place to reduce to a minimum the dust in the environment. 2. All machining of MDF, and other timbers, should have good quality and effective dust extraction. 3. Rooms should be well ventilated when working MDF by hand tools. Rotary sanding discs or machine sanders with no dust extraction must not be used in schools. Beware of companies trying to sell these to schools.'
So the bottom line is that provided adequate ventilation is used and careful cleaning up undertaken the risk is very low. Certainly the OP's son is likely to have had a low exposure
pj11 - Member
Sorry still in work mode & I'm on holiday!
RA Risk Assessment
SOP Safe Operating Procedure
All should refer to the MDS Material Data Sheet
In my DT lessons we only use MDF if there's no alternative. Ply tends to do the job better most if the time.
When we do use it - say for cutting out shapes or letters for a kids toy - I would always have them using a mask if sanding it, and I tend not to let them use it on the disc-sander. Cutting with a hand-saw should be fine in a well ventilated area. Are you sure he was using a band-saw, as most schools don't let any pupils (even sixth formers) near them these days.
Are you sure he was using a band-saw, as most schools don't let any pupils (even sixth formers) near them these days.
I taught D&T and Art and Design 3D courses for nearly 30 years at sixth form level. I allowed my students to use band saws, jig saws, routers, MIG welders etc. under direct supervision after careful safety instructions that were repeated at every use and with appropriate extraction and PPE. They were also taught about Risk Assessments and their own responsibilities to themselves and others right at the beginning of the courses.
I also showed them safe use of hand held circular saws, biscuit jointers, angle grinders, Etc. even though they were not allowed to use them in college lessons. I did this in the firm belief that they would be very probably be using these at home at some point and it was best to make sure they knew how to use them safely. All done after careful RA of course. I was fortunate enough not to have a single student injure themselves with power tools in those 30 years., mostly I would hope because of the above. I think it is very sad that some schools restrict such use because of in my opinion misguided ( but no doubt sincere) concerns about H&S. All IMHO of course
Wonder how they cleaned up the flour/dust, eg brushing it off the bench onto the floor or by usinng a vacumn cleaner with a fine dust filter.
Flour is the term given to fine wood dust.
As for the use of a bandsaw, best to make sure the kid was properley supervised and trained, the blades do snap every so often.
I think it is very sad that some schools restrict such use because of in my opinion misguided ( but no doubt sincere) concerns about H&S. All IMHO of course
more likely an expensive insurance claim if kid hurts himself
I agree it's a pity, and most kids would be fine with the correct training and supervision.
However there have been a few cases in the last few years of kids getting seriously hurt using bandsaws, circular saws, and even (shudder) a thicknesser/planer - think the last one resulted in lost fingers.
So, most schools now ban pupils from using the bigger stuff.
At KS4 mine still learn to use jigsaws, routers, lathes (wood and metal), MIG welding and brazing, etc.
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