Polyurethane resins targeted under OSHA program
Composites manufacturers using polyurethane resins or coatings may be inspected under OSHA’s recently announced national emphasis program (NEP) for occupational exposure to isocyanates. Many polyurethane formulations are marketed as non-volatile or non-toxic, but all use di- or poly-isocyanates as one of the two components.
OSHA considers all isocyanates to be potentially toxic to workers. Dermal or inhalation exposure to isocyanates can cause severe allergic reactions in workers. Some isocyanates are suspected carcinogens.
Employers should ensure worker inhalation and dermal exposures do not exceed established limits or guidelines. OSHA allows personal protective equipment (PPE) to control inhalation exposures only if ventilation controls have been employed to the extent feasible. PPE such as respirators and gloves should be specifically approved for isocyanates.
More information is available on ACMA’s website.
John Schweitzer, ACMA Senior Director of Government Affairs