Green Job Hazards
Weather Insulating/Sealing: Personal Protective Equipment
Workers in the SPF industry can be exposed to inhalation hazards from Isocyanates and other hazardous chemical vapors or dusts. OSHA requires a hierarchy of controls, under which employers must first implement engineering controls (including elimination, substitution) and/or administrative controls whenever possible. If such controls are not feasible to achieve full compliance, personal protective equipment or any other protective measures must be used to ensure the employees are not exposed to air contaminants above permissible limits. For the spray foam applicator and the helper (who is standing in close proximity and/or may switch duties with spray applicator) a respirator with full face mask should be provided and worn during application and clean-up (more information provided in respiratory protection section). In addition, full saran-coated suits/coveralls with appropriate gloves and shoe-covers should be provided and worn during application and clean-up. It is highly recommended that no skin exposure occurs during these work processes (Bello, 2007).
It is recommended that workers in trimming or sanding operations should be provided and wear appropriate respirators, long sleeves and gloves. Goggles or other eye protective equipment is required.
Protective Equipment for SPF Application
- Hand protection – chemical-resistant protective gloves, chloroprene rubber (Neoprene), nitrile rubber (Buna N), chlorinated polyethylene, polyvinylchloride (Pylox), butyl rubber, fluoroelastomer (Viton)
- Eye protection -- tightly fitting safety goggles (chemical goggles). Wear face shield if splashing hazard exists. Full face mask for applicator.
- Body protection -- saran-coated material (full body suit with hood for applicator).
General Safety and Hygiene Measures
- Wear protective clothing as necessary to prevent contact. Eye wash fountains and safety showers must be easily accessible. Observe the appropriate PEL value. Wash soiled clothing immediately. Contaminated equipment or clothing should be disposed of or cleaned thoroughly after each use. Use protective equipment while cleaning to avoid contamination.
- Respirators should be used by the workers for protection only when engineering controls (for example, ventilation) have been shown to be not feasible or during the interim period when engineering controls are being installed.
Additional information on Respiratory Protection can be found on OSHA's web page on this topic.
Bello D, Herrick CA, Smith TJ, Woskie SR, Streicher RP, Cullen MR, Liu Y, Redlich CA. Skin exposure to isocyanates: reasons for concern. Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Mar;115 (3):328-35.