Occasional Paper Series No 2 - Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting - National Audit 1997 1998
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Occasional Paper Series No 2 - Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting - National Audit 1997 1998

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Occupational Safety and Health ServiceOccasional Paper SeriesIsocyanate Use in Spray PaintingNational Audit 1997-98Project Co-ordinatorsJohan DirkzwagerAndrea EngErrol HodgkinsonPublished by the Occupational Safety and Health ServiceDepartment of LabourWellingtonNew ZealandOctober 1999ISBN 0-477-03626-0ContentsBackground 4Results 5Analysis of the Booth Information Relating to Booth Design and Operation 5Health Surveillance 6Branch Comments 7Discussion 8The Physical Aspects—Booth and Equipment 8Health Surveillance 8Respirators 8Summary of Findings 10Booth Design and Equipment 10Health Surveillance 10Respirators 10Overall 10Recommendations 10Appendix: Isocyanates Audit Sheet 11BackgroundOne of the OSH national initiatives in the area of hazardous substances for 1997-98 focused onthe use of isocyanate-containing paints in spray painting. The objective of the initiative was toensure that where paints were used there was compliance with theApproved Code of Practice For The Safe Use Of Isocyanates. There was particular emphasisplaced on health surveillance, with the isocyanate guidelines from the Approved Code of Practicefor the Management of Substances Hazardous to Health in the Place of Work (MOSHH)being used as the reference.While the was introduced shortlyafter the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, it was suspected that current compliance, atleast with some aspects of the code, was relatively poor. The MOSHH approved ...

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O c c u p a t i o n a l S a f e t y a n d H e a l t h S e r v i c e
Occasional Paper Series
Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting National Au  d1i9t97-98
Project Co-ordinators Johan Dirkzwager Andrea Eng Errol Hodgkinson
Published by the Occupational Safety and Health Service Department of Labour Wellington New Zealand
October 1999
ISBN 0-477-03626-0
Contents
Background Results Analysis of the Booth Information Relating to Booth Design and Operation Health Surveillance Branch Comments Discussion The Physical Aspects—Booth and Equipment Health Surveillance Respirators Summary of Findings Booth Design and Equipment Health Surveillance Respirators Overall Recommendations Appendix: Isocyanates Audit Sheet
4 5 5 6 7 8 8 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 11
Background
One of the OSH national initiatives in the area of hazardous substances for 1997-98 focused on the use of isocyanate-containing paints in spray painting. The objective of the initiative was to ensure that where isocyanate-containing paints were used there was compliance with the Approved Code of Practice For The Safe Use Of Isocyanates . There was particular emphasis placed on health surveillance, with the isocyanate guidelines from the Approved Code of Practice for the Management of Substances Hazardous to Health in the Place of Work (MOSHH) being used as the reference. While the Approved Code of Practice For The Safe Use Of Isocyanates was introduced shortly after the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, it was suspected that current compliance, at least with some aspects of the code, was relatively poor. The MOSHH approved code of practice was issued in 1997. Compliance with the Spray Coating Regulations 1962, in particular with regard to the design and performance of the booth, was also audited. A copy of the audit sheet that was used is appended. All 18 OSH branches took part in the isocyanate audit.
4 Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting — Audit
Of the 245 isocyanate users visited 20 were not using a spray painting booth. 63% of the booths were found to be constructed and operated in reasonable accordance with the requirements of the Spray Coating Regulations. As anticipated, not all of the booths were found to have a satisfactory extraction flow rate. What was a little more surprising was the performance of the more ‘high tech’ down-draught booths. 16% of these were found to have inadequate flow rates. The percentage of cross-flow and down-draught booths complying with the respective flow rates (0.5 and 0.2 metres/second) is set out in figure 1. Blocked filters seemed to be one of the main reasons for the down-draught booths not achieving the required 0.2 metres/sec flow. With cross-flow booths, blocked filters accounted for some of the problem, although in many cases it would seem that it was a design issue, as even under optimal conditions the extraction systems were not capable of achieving an average flow rate of 0.5 metres/sec. Booth 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0  Down-draught Cross-flow
Results
Figure 1. Percentage of down-draught and cross-flow booths with satisfactory flow rates. Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting — Audit 5
The following results refer to the data that was received from 12 branches that returned audit forms and/or a summary of their findings during 1998. Six hundred and nineteen firms were identified by these branches as potentially using isocyanate-containing paints. The majority of these were car refinishers and furniture painters, but included a range of other industry activities such as boat repair and aircraft painting. Of the 619 firms identified 399 were visited during 1997/98 (the audit was continued in 98/99 with a number of branches indicating that they intend to cover all of the spray painters in their area). Two hundred and forty five of the firms visited either indicated that they used isocyanates, or, it became apparent during the audit, that at times they did apply isocyanate-containing paints. The majority were car painters. At the time of the first contact with the firms, 53 were considered to be fully compliant with the spray painting regulations and Approved Code of Practice For The Safe Use Of Isocyanates . A total of 305 improvement notices were issued including 59 for training and 121 for health surveillance.
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Health Surveillance Only 30% of the firms that sprayed isocyanate-containing paints were found to be currently monitoring the health of their employees. Compliance with various aspects relating to the protection offered to the spray painters is graphed in figure 2.
Personal factors
100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Respirator Air quality Interlock Personal protection Figure 2. Percentage of spray painting companies with satisfactory air-fed respiratory protection, air quality, interlock and personal protection. Respiratory protection was considered to be satisfactory if suitable air-fed respirators were available. Comments were received about the worker’s lack of willingness to wear the protection provided and in one situation, during subsequent contact with the client, it become apparent that the information provided by the employees about wearing the respirators was not correct. In that respect the 87% compliance figure is almost certainly an overestimation. Respiratory protection is raised again in the discussion section. Air quality relates to the filtration of the air supply to the air-fed respirators. As many as 87% of the companies were considered to have a satisfactory system. Once again this is likely to be somewhat of an overestimation of the true situation, as it is difficult to judge if the filters are in good order. In one branch it was noted that very few had a regular filter replacement programme and adequate documentation. An interlock between the air supply to the gun and the extraction fan was not as commonly encountered, at 49% compliance. Generally the purpose-built down-draught booths had some form of mechanical interlock. The majority of the spray painting clients (91%) provided acceptable personal protective equipment . Compliance with wearing the personal protection, including gloves, overalls and head protection, was not assessed but some comments received suggested that the gear was not always worn. Employee knowledge of the health problems that may be caused by exposure to isocyanate-containing paints is indicated in figure 3. The spray painters were generally aware that isocyanates were potentially harmful but knowledge of exactly what the adverse health outcome is and how it occurs was more sketchy. The knowledge was classified as good if the employees were able to demonstrate that they were aware of the specific harmful effects of isocyanates and therefore what protection was required. The knowledge was classified as satisfactory if they had a general understanding of the effects and precautions and poor if neither.
6 Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting — Audit
100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Good Satisfactory Poor Figure 3. Painter knowledge of isocyanates.
Branch Comments The officers completing the audits were asked to comment generally on their findings and on the useability of the audit tool. Overall the comments on the audit process that was used were favourable. Positive comments included: • Consistency. They saw the benefits in being able to point out to the companies visited that it was a national audit and that the same standard was required of all spray painters. • The audit tool was easy to follow and was also useful as a training exercise (some would have preferred nationally-organised training on the project to be included). Some branches organised practical training at a spray booth, e.g. local polytechnic. • The audit was seen as a good way of targeting specific industries. Suggestions for change included: • To extend the audit to cover all spray painting situations. • More specific mention of booth construction and electrical zoning. • To look at solvents as well as isocyanates. Mention was also made of the fact that it is difficult to locate spray painting companies, especially the smaller operators. Also, it was not possible to establish that the companies used isocyanates until a visit was made.
Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting — Audit 7
Discussion
The Physical Aspects — Booth and Equipment
A considerable percentage of the improvements raised during the audits related to spray painting booths. There is no doubt that following the audit there has been a considerable improvement in the standard of booths, with a number of new units being installed. Although some progress has been made, car painting jobs, including complete resprays, are still being performed outside of booths. Comments were made by the auditors about the difficulty in determining whether or not the companies visited were involved in complete resprays. It is a very competitive industry and there must be a temptation to take on the work that is available. If, when and how you can spray outside of a booth continues to be difficult to determine using the Spray Coating Regulations 1962 as a guide to the practicable steps that can be taken. There are some aspects of spray painting where the requirements to achieve compliance are quite clear, e.g. the protection required when using isocyanate paints. However, obtaining consistency in other areas has proved more difficult.
Health Surveillance
As anticipated, compliance with health surveillance at the time of the audit was less than satisfactory. To some extent this may have been influenced by the availability of suitable health providers in parts of the country. What is required in terms of health surveillance and who can provide it is now set out in the MOSHH Guidelines for Workplace Health Surveillance . The health risk posed by excessive solvent exposure was raised by some of the officers that carried out the audit, with mention being made that solvent-induced neurotoxicity was more of an issue than respiratory sensitisation from isocyanates. Theoretically, if the respirators are being used correctly and consistently while spraying is being carried out in the booth, then solvent uptake from this activity should not be excessive (a protection factor of 100 should be achievable with an air-fed respirator). What is more difficult to estimate is the solvent exposure experienced by those working in general workshop areas.
Respirators
The majority of companies that sprayed isocyanates provided suitable respirators for the workers. Comments were made about compliance, or lack of it, with wearing the air-fed respirators. One branch noted that a polytechnic spray painting tutor they approached said that in their courses they are able to convince the students that air-fed respirators are required and can be used to do the job in comfort. He was very aware, however, of the battle to get experienced painters to accept air-fed respirators and the problem with the peer pressure faced by the students when they go back to their workplaces. The specific problems raised by the workers include concerns that the air-fed respirators are cumbersome to wear and the visors fog up. Given that they have an air hose attached, it can be argued that in some situations they are less convenient to wear than a normal respirator and filter.
8 Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting — Audit
However, there are steps that can be taken to minimise the inconvenience, like ensuring that there are a number of air outlets in the booth and that lightweight well-fitting gear is used. The issue of visors “fogging up” seems to have a fairly simple solution—tear off plastic covers that are available for most of the visors.
Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting — Audit 9
Summary of Findings
Booth Design and Equipment • One third of booths were not designed and maintained to ensure adequate airflow. • Spray painting of cars, including complete re-sprays, was not always performed inside a suitable booth.
Health Surveillance • Just over half of the firms did not comply with the appropriate monitoring requirements. • The spray painters were generally aware that isocyanates were potentially harmful, with 60% having a good knowledge of the possible health effects. However, for the remaining 40%, knowledge of the health effects was vague. • The health risk posed by excessive solvent exposure was thought to be of greater risk than that of respiratory sensitisation from isocyanates.
Respirators • The majority of spray painting clients (91%) provided acceptable personal protective equipment. • There is a general lack of willingness by the worker to wear the protection required.
Overall At the time of first contact with the spray painting firms, 21% were considered to be fully compliant with the spray painting regulations and Approved Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Isocyanates.
Recommendations OSH will review the findings for the 2000/01 business year with a view to pursuing the enforcement of compliance with the appropriate requirements. Industry will be encouraged to participate in further compliance activities.
10 Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting — Audit
Appendix: Isocyanates Audit Sheet
Workplace name and address:
To be completed by OSH inspector.
Client No.: Type of work performed: (Tick one option) Car refinishing Furniture finishing Other (specify): NB:  When mentioned below, “the code” means the Approved Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Isocyanates , “the regulations” means the Spray Coating Regulations 1962.
Part A: The Work Environment
1. Are isocyanates used?
2. Note the brand and type of isocyanate paints used commonly by the firm: e.g. Dulux Autocolour 2K.   Brand Type
( Please tick as appropriate )  Yes No ( If no, the audit is complete )
Spraying operations outside of spraybooth 3. If isocyanates are sprayed indoors , not in a booth but under conditions allowed for in the regulations, are the following adhered to: a) Are all people in the area provided with airline respirators? Yes No ( If no, issue a prohibition notice stopping the use of isocyanate paints ) b) Is there a system in place to ensure that people do not inadvertently enter the hazardous area? Yes No ( If no, issue a prohibition notice stopping the use of isocyanate paints ) 4. If isocyanates are sprayed outdoors , are the following adhered to: a) Are all people within 15 metres of the spray painting operation provided with airline respirators?  Yes No ( If no, issue a prohibition notice stopping the use of isocyanate paints ) b) Is there a system in place to ensure that people do not inadvertently enter the hazardous area? Yes No ( If no, issue a prohibition notice stopping the use of isocyanate paints ) Isocyanate Use in Spray Painting — Audit 11