September 30, 2020
Contact: Office of Communications
U.S. Department of Labor and American Chemistry Council Renew
Alliance to Protect Workers Hazardous Chemicals Exposure
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) have renewed an alliance to protect the safety and health of workers handling diisocyanates, a compound used to make polyurethane.
During the five-year agreement, the alliance will focus on workplace practices to reduce and prevent exposure to aliphatic and aromatic diisocyanates; promoting guidance and information that addresses the health and safety issues affecting workers within the polyurethanes value chain, as well as the broader chemical industry; and helping employers and workers understand their rights and responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and health Act (OSH Act).
“OSHA's renewed alliance with the American Chemistry Council will help ensure that employers and employees in the polyurethane industry are able to recognize the hazards associated with these chemicals, and implement the methods to control employee exposures,” said Principal 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. Exposure to isocyanates can cause irritation of the skin and mucous membranes, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. More serious health effects include asthma and other lung problems.
The ACC entities participating in the alliance include the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry and the Diisocyanates and Aliphatic Diisocyanates panels. Members of these groups include manufacturers and distributors of chemicals and equipment used to make polyurethane.
The OSHA Alliance Program fosters collaborative relationships with groups committed to worker safety and health. Alliance partners help OSHA reach targeted audiences, such as employers and workers in high-hazard industries, giving them better access to workplace safety and health tools and information.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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