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News

Isocyanate paints in motor vehicle repair shops moves up front

HSE InfoLine : 14 March, 2003  (Technical Article)
Safety in motor vehicle repair: Working with 2-pack isocyanate paints was launched today by Department for Work and Pensions Minister, Des Browne, MP. He opened a workshop focusing on the cause, impact and prevention of occupational asthma, to mark European Week for Safety and Health at Work's Dangerous Substances campaign.
Safety in motor vehicle repair: Working with 2-pack isocyanate paints was launched today by Department for Work and Pensions Minister, Des Browne, MP. He opened a workshop focusing on the cause, impact and prevention of occupational asthma, to mark European Week for Safety and Health at Work's Dangerous Substances campaign.

HSE's Motor Vehicle Repair Health and Safety Forum, which has representatives from the motor vehicle industry and trade unions, decided on the clear format which simply sets out the risks to workers' health and the steps needed to protect them.

Dr John Powell, Head of the National Engineering Group in HSE's Manufacturing Sector and Chair of the MVR Forum said: ' Exposure to isocyanates can cause long-term and life-threatening illnesses. Isocyanates are the number one cause of occupational asthma. which affects 7,000 people each year in Britain.

'There is a risk if unreacted isocyanate is breathed in, or splashed onto the skin or into the eyes. Vapours, spray mists and dusts containing isocyanates are highly irritant to the respiratory tract and eyes, and may bring about or worsen existing asthma, or cause dermatitis.

'Spraying 2-pack isocyanate paints is one of the main causes of occupational asthma. It can also trigger off asthma in customers visiting garages or bodyshops and it makes sense for garage owners to deal with the problem up front.

'Effective control measures such as only spraying in a well-ventilated booth or enclosure with the doors closed and by suitably trained persons wearing air-fed respirators, can reduce exposures to non-detectable levels and certainly below current UK exposure limits.'
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