On September 30, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the renewal of its alliance with the American Chemistry Council (ACC) to protect the safety and health of workers handling diisocyanates, a compound used to make polyurethane. The agency first signed its alliance with the ACC’s Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) and Diisocyanates (DII) and Aliphatic Diisocyanates (ADI) panels in 2017.
The ACC is an industry trade association for chemical manufacturers formerly known as the Chemical Manufacturers’ Association.
OSHA and the ACC’s panels work together to provide the industry group’s members, along with occupational physicians, stakeholders, workers, and others within the polyurethanes value chain, with information, guidance, and access to training resources to help protect the health and safety of workers handling diisocyanates.
“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,” Loren Sweatt, principal deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said in a statement.
“We’re excited to continue partnering with OSHA to enhance safety in American workplaces, which remains a top priority for the polyurethanes industry,” Lee Salamone, senior director of CPI, said.
The activities and goals of the alliance include the following:
- Sharing information about OSHA’s national initiatives (inspection and enforcement Emphasis Programs, the Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda, and agency outreach programs), other compliance assistance offered by OSHA, and opportunities to participate in initiatives and rulemaking processes, including those relevant to diisocyanates and the general chemical industry;
- Sharing information about workplace safety and health laws and standards, including the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers;
- Developing and disseminating information promoting the safe use and handling of diisocyanates—electronic assistance tools, print and electronic media, and OSHA and/or ACC websites—to employers and workers;
- Educating the broader chemical industry about OSHA’s initiatives, campaigns, and resources that promote a safer working environment and hosting OSHA officials, who speak, exhibit, or appear at agency, ACC, or industry conferences, local meetings, or other events; and
- Encouraging members of the CPI, DII, and ADI panels and their networks of downstream users to build relationships with OSHA’s regional and area offices to address relevant health and safety issues.
Alliance activities also include an “Introduction to Diisocyanates” webinar for OSHA personnel on the safe use and handling of diisocyanates. Alliance efforts also include developing products, workshops, and other training resources for participants all along the supply chain about chemical hazards of diisocyanates, as well as applicable OSHA standards and regulations.
Resources so far produced under the alliance have included “Personal Protective Equipment: General Recommendations for Automotive Refinishing Coating Applications,” an infographic that provides personal protective equipment recommendations for the automotive refinishing market, and Medical Screening and Surveillance for Workers Potentially Exposed to Diisocyanates: A Guide for the Employer and Medical Screening and Surveillance for Workers Potentially Exposed to Diisocyanates: A Guide for Workers, which are guidance documents for employers and workers addressing the potential adverse health effects from exposure to diisocyanates and information about medical screening and surveillance to prevent such effects.