Isocyanates and resin alert

THE Department of Mines and Energy (DME) warns of the dangers of two-pack paints and isocyanate-based Polyurethane Resins (PUR)

THE Queensland Department of Mines and Energy (DME) has released a safety bulletin warning of the dangers of two-pack paints and isocyanate-based Polyurethane Resins (PUR).

Isocyanates are found in paint systems, particularly two-pack paints.

“Isocyanates are respiratory sensitisers, or asthmagens, and can cause a change in people’s airways known as the hypersensitive state,” DME chief inspector of mines Rob O’Sullivan said.

Polyurethane foam is used in underground coal and metal mines as a strata binder and void filler, and is also used to fill free-steer vehicles tyres.

O’Sullivan says there are significant problems with lack of training of applicators, lack of knowledge of health hazards, and a lack of control by material suppliers, leading to incidents in Queensland and New South Wales.

The mines inspectorate recommends that mines provide training in the health hazards and follow safety instructions provided in the material safety data sheet accompanying 2- pack paint and varnish systems.

Mines should conduct air monitoring to measure the airborne concentration of isocyanates, and help assess the effectiveness of control measures, according to the bulletin.

Mines should also carry out a risk assessment where PUR is used, to identify the fire hazards when using polyurethane, according to the bulletin.

Key contact:

Rob O’Sullivan

Inspector of Mines

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