Employees Health provide onsite isocyanate health monitoring all around Australia. We conduct these health assessments, as per WorkSafe requirements, for workers exposed to isocyanates in the workplace.
Due to the health issues associated with isocyanate exposure, there is legislation governed by Worksafe requiring persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to initiate a Health Surveillance (monitoring) program for workers exposed to these chemicals in the workplace.
We recommend that the https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/about-us/safework-nsw-regulatory-priorities-2023 Regulatory Guidelines, Safework should be followed when establishing the regularity of health surveillance. There is also their more recent guide to handling isocynates that recommends the following:
Safe Work Australia reviewed the model Code Code of Practice for Spray Painting and Powder Coating. For all automotive body repair employers and paint and panel workshops, there is a WorkSafe responsibility to initiate an isocyanate Health Surveillance program to minimise the risk of permanent health damage to their spray painters.
There are serious health effects associated with occupational exposure to isocyanates. The greatest risks are from inhaling vapours, fine droplets (aerosols) and dusts containing Isocyanates, as they irritate the linings of the nose, throat, lungs and eyes. The health effects include:
Isocyanates include compounds also classified as potential human carcinogens (cancer causing compounds) and are known to cause cancer in animals.
Paints, varnishes and epoxy solvents now often contain a family of highly reactive chemicals known as isocyanates.
Jobs that often involve exposure to isocyanates include:
Exposure to hazardous chemicals is a significant risk in spray painting and powder coating activities including during preparation (preparing surfaces, tinting, mixing and pouring paints), storage, clean-up and disposal. The hazardous chemicals that workers may be exposed to include paints, solvents, powders, lacquers, paint strippers, adhesives, surface preparation products, rust converters and rust removers.
Worksafe can review your Health Surveillance program to ensure you are meeting your WorkSafe Isocyanate health surveillance requirements.
Those at greatest risk include those who work with spraying isocyanates and volatile isocyanates such as tolulene diisocyanate (TDI).
Three types of workplaces stand out as having the highest risk of isocyanate exposure in Australia
The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2011, says that you should provide and maintain a work environment in which your employees are not exposed to hazards. This includes training, information, supervision and personal protective clothing and equipment.