Guidelines for the safe use of Softwood Treated Timber
The following information is provided as a guideline only for domestic users on the safe use of treated timber.
It is not intended to replace the need for any required work risk assessment.
Handling Treated Timber
The treatment process fixes the chemicals in the treatment into the cells of the timber, so once the timber has dried out after the treatment process is completed there will be no leaching of treatment chemicals even if the timber becomes very wet. For more information about the treatment process, please read our Timber Pressure Treatment information page. There are no health risks associated with the treatment that need to be considered when handling treated timber. However, we recommend that good personal hygiene practices are maintained and gloves are worn to reduce the risks from splinters. Good manual handling techniques are required as many of the items we stock are heavy and unwieldy.
Working with Treated Timber
Avoid frequent or prolonged inhalation of wood dust.
Sanding of treated timber is not recommended as it reduces the effectiveness of the treatment.
If sanding by hand please use the same precautions as in Power tools below.
No special precautions are required when sawing, chiselling or boring holes on Treated Timber using normal hand tools.
When using any power tools on Treated softwood fine sawdust can be produced. Goggles should be worn to protect the eyes from flying particles. Under the COSHH Regulations exposure to airborne softwood dust needs to be controlled and should be reduced as much as possible. Whenever possible and weather permitting, use power tools outdoors to help avoid accumulations of airborne sawdust. Dust extraction should ideally be used if possible, with additional suitable respiratory protective equipment if required. Good housekeeping will help to keep levels of dust down and reduce the risk from fire.
Refer to the HSE website for more information on the use of power tools, wood dust hazards and precautions, exposure limits, local exhaust ventilation and the selection of respiratory protective equipment.
Disposal of Treated Timber
Treated timber must not be used on barbecues, cooking stoves or grates. Do not use for animal litter or bedding.
Treated timber is not classified as hazardous waste.
Domestic end users should normally be able to dispose of any waste treated timber, sawdust or off cuts through the ordinary waste collection service or at a local authority amenity/disposal site. Contact your local authority to find out about appropriate arrangements in your area.
Waste timber, sawdust or redundant timber from commercial or industrial use (e.g. construction sites) should preferably be recycled by reuse, or disposed of to an authorised landfill or to a correctly controlled and approved waste incinerator. Contact your local authority to find out about appropriate commercial arrangements in your area.