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OSHA, American Chemistry Council Establish Partnership

Sept. 18, 2017
A two-year alliance is aimed at promoting safe practices for polyurethane exposure.

Exposure during polyurethane production can have serious health effects including asthma and lung issues. Because of this risk, OSHA and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) have teamed up to promote safety around the raw materials used during the production process.

The two-year alliance will raise awareness of how workers are exposed to diisocyantes and isocyantes through web-based training.

“OSHA’s new alliance with ACC will help ensure that employers and employees who work with the identified chemicals better understand the health hazards associated with these potentially hazardous chemicals, and the methods to control employee exposures,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt.

Isocyanates are raw materials used to make polyurethane products such as insulation, car seats, foam mattresses, shoes and adhesives, according to OSHA. Exposure to isocyanates can cause irritation of the skin and mucous membranes, chest tightness and difficulty breathing  as well as more serious health effects such asthma and other lung problems.

In addition to a web-based training program, the organizations will publish guidance on medical surveillance and clinical evaluation techniques for employers and workers using the chemicals. The agreement also calls for best practices seminars on health and safety procedures for OSHA, on-site consultation, and state plan staff.

The ACC comprises the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) as well as the diisocyanates and aliphatic diisocyanates panels. Members of these groups include manufacturers and distributors of chemicals and equipment used to make polyurethane, according to the organization.

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