If you are a manufacturer or service provider and your workers participate in work activities involving isocyanates then they require special attention when assessing their exposure and will require regular testing.
Common processes that expose workers to Isocyanates include:
- All stages of manufacture and use where free isocyanates are released as vapours, aerosols and mists;
- Spray painting, using two-pack paints with an isocyanate hardener, like in vehicle paints;
- Processes where heat decomposition of polyurethane products occurs, like welding, heat removal of electrical insulating varnishes and hot wire cutting of foam.
Note: The largest volume use of isocyanates is in the production of polyurethane foams.
Safe Work Australia has published guidelines to help Employers know when to test their workers:
Below is a simple guide that simplifies the intervals of testing required for workers exposed to isocyanates:
Where monitoring after 12 months shows no adverse health effects the medical practitioner may choose to carry out annual monitoring. Workers sensitised to isocyanates should be strongly advised against further exposure.