Mandatory training for the use of PU foam
The European Union recently adopted a new REACH regulation. This includes mandatory training for all employees in EU member states who deal with sprayed PUR foam. From 24 August 2023, all professional and industrial users of products containing > 0.1% monomeric diisocyanates, to hold a valid certificate. This regulation also applies to the use of Temati’s sprayable PU foam products. You can read all about certification in this article.
The importance of correct application of sprayed PUR foam
(Di)isocyanates are basic constituents of PUR foams, adhesives and sealants in particular. These polyurethane (PU) products are versatile and used for various applications in construction, transport, assembly and other sectors. The health and safety risks when processing PU foam are almost negligible, as long as the material is applied according to proper guidelines.
Guidelines for use of (di)isocyanates
Some important guidelines to observe when working with (di)isocyanates are:
- Avoid inhalation of vapours
- Avoid contact with skin
- Avoid contact with eyes
- Wear the required personal protective equipment (gloves, eye protection and safety shoes)
- No drinking, eating or smoking in the workplace
- Make sure the workplace is well ventilated
Knowledge crucial for safe PUR processing
To work responsibly with sprayed PUR, knowledge is crucial. This is why the EU has made training and certification mandatory from August 2023 for all employees handling (di)isocyanates. The aim of this obligation is to increase the quality of processing and protect the environment and human health against the risks of chemicals.
Why this mandatory certification for PU foam?
As mentioned above, the aim of the EU obligation is to prevent health hazards, such as respiratory and skin problems due to improper use of diisocyanates. Therefore, it is essential that every worker, who works with the material, has sufficient knowledge and is aware of the risks. Besides the correct working method, the worker should be able to implement appropriate risk management measures, including the use of appropriate personal protective equipment.
What does this mean for you?
From 24 August 2023, PU foam processors must ensure that they are trained and certified to handle this product safely. In doing so, they must know how to control skin and respiratory exposure to the material in the workplace. The training must be repeated every 5 years to continue working with (di)isocyanates and maintain a high level of quality and knowledge. This rule also applies to the use of Temati’s Froth-Pak, Handi-Foam and Temati Foam products.
What does PU foam training entail?
For training, 3 levels have been identified, linked to the degree of exposure to the product:
- Basic (level 1)
- Medium (level 2)
- High (level 3)
The highest level is intended for employees performing tasks such as heating or spraying in the open air or in an environment with limited (natural) ventilation. The basic level focuses on assessing the suitability of an area for insulation with PUR foam and assessing any risks. Which level your employees should follow and which modules belong to it can be determined using this matrix.
Where can you take the course?
There are several parties providing training materials. These include FEICA, the umbrella organisation for the adhesives and sealants industry, which is working on training for PU certification. And the European industry has also developed an elearning platform. More information on the REACH restriction can be found on the Legislation.gov.uk website.