Isocyanate Paint Regulations: How Do They Affect You?

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From August 2023, new regulations about (di)isocyanate compounds are coming into play. These changes have a big impact on the application and usage of products containing isocyanate. In this article, we’ll discuss isocyanate paints and how these changes affect those working with them.

What is Isocyanate?

Isocyanate is a group of chemicals known for their heightened reactivity and low molecular weight. These chemicals play a vital role in the production of an array of products, including flexible and rigid foams, coatings, and fibres.

Where is Isocyanate Paint Used?

Almost all industrial paints have isocyanate due to their ability to maintain its durability during extreme conditions. This attribute is especially valued within manufacturing where resilience and longevity are essential. 

At TA Paints, we’re proud to make and sell the highest-quality isocyanate paints designed for maximum performance and safe usage.

The Versatility of Isocyanate

Beyond its role in paints, isocyanate holds significance for many other things. A prime example is its use in home insulation and construction materials because of its weatherproof and durable qualities.

Risks of Isocyanate Paints

Isocyanates can lead to irritation of the skin, eyes, and digestive and respiratory systems. Prolonged exposure to this substance can result in upset, such as an increased risk of asthma attacks.

In extreme cases, people lost their lives due to the severe asthma attacks triggered by exposure to isocyanates. Such scenarios are rare, but these new guidelines will make it so isocyanate paints are used safely.

Safeguards for Isocyanate Handling

The hazards posed by this chemical are why new regulations have been created. COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002) mandates the act of careful measures to control the risk of hazardous substances. At present, workplace exposure to isocyanates is limited to 20 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

Existing rules also make it mandatory for employers to report any cases of asthma or dermatitis caused by isocyanate exposure. Also, products containing more than 0.1% of isocyanate must have clear labelling on the product container.

New Guidelines for Isocyanate Use

As of August 2023, new rules are in place to protect those frequently exposed to isocyanate paints. 

Isocyanates cannot be used in isolation or as part of a mixture if the concentration exceeds 0.1% by weight.

However, the biggest change is employers must provide comprehensive isocyanate training every five years. The training must also be approved by a relevant authoritative body. Employers should maintain records of all the training, which is categorised into three tiers, each aligned with the risk associated with the tasks.

Implications of the new Regulations

The biggest advantage of these regulations is the elevated safety. These updated rules also show several considerations for employers moving ahead. The main benefits are you can continue using the same products. The products themselves aren’t changing, just our knowledge of how to use them safely.

However, employers might encounter certain drawbacks associated with the new regulations, such as difficulty in locating training courses that meet the standards, and providing training for a large workforce or temporary employees.

Who Needs Isocyanate Training?

The new regulations apply to all employed (including freelance) individuals using isocyanate paint. Tasks include application of exterior coatings, professional painting, and spraying within well-ventilated booths.

What Happens Next?

Sourcing the appropriate training is the number one priority for employers. After this, you must also find a suitable way of storing all the training records. Ensure that your employees are safely using isocyanate paints with regular inspections.

As suppliers of isocyanate paints, we’ll make it clear to you which products these regulations apply to. View our wide array of paints from TA Paints; a supplier you can trust.

If you need more information about how these changes affect you regarding our stock, contact our team of paint experts today.