Australian Wood Chip Safety Datasheet developed
Wood chips are classified as hazardous substances, primarily on the basis of their wood dust content. This classification requires companies supplying wood chips to supply a Safety Data Sheet (SDS),formerly a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS),provides information on the properties of wood chips and how they affect health and safety in the workplace. SDSs are required by transport and shipping companies as a part of the sales and distribution process.
In the past, wood chip SDSs in Australia hadbeen developed by each individual organisation leading to a range of regional and product specific documents. FWPA in partnership with a number of woodchip export levy-payers recognised that if a single Safety Data Sheet could be developed for the Australian timber industry it would improve consistency and save the industry time and money.
A study coordinated by Martin Strandgard of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Forest Engineering Research Centre concluded that a single Australian SDS could be developed covering both hardwood and softwood wood chips (untreated). A working group was assembled to collect and review developments in industrial hygiene and worker safety associated with working exposure to wood dust. This information was used to update the existing information on both softwood and hardwood chips to create a single document covering all non-treated woodchips.
The final document has been reviewed and issued via ChemWatch (www.chemwatch.net) under a ‘parent/sibling’ arrangement between FWPA and its members. Any FWPA member seeking to have a woodchip SDS issued in their own company name can do so via Chemwatch, citing reference code 63-4615.