Is your organisation ready for the diisocyanate training regulation change?
The handling of products containing diisocyanates is due to change in 2023. Diisocyanates are a key chemical component used in polyurethane products. However, they're considered 'potential human carcinogens' meaning they could negatively impact workers’ health if not handled properly. Diisocyanates can be found in many foam and adhesive products, meaning any change to the regulation is vital information for the supply chain and the end user market.
What is the regulation and when will it come into effect?
According to new European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) regulations, as of 24 August 2023, the use and handling of diisocyanates will change. From this date onwards, diisocyanates should not be used on their own, or as a constituent in other substances or mixtures, in concentrations above 0.1% by weight unless training has first been provided. Currently, training is not mandatory, and whilst companies may conduct training internally, they will need to check it against regulatory guidelines. There are also three tiers of training depending upon the particular role an employee plays in the handling of diisocyanates.
What will the change mean for the foam and adhesive supply chains?
A minimum standard of training will be enforced from 24 August 2023 meaning that companies have time to prepare. A number of industry organisations have banded together to provide training that meets the new specifications set by the ECHA. Led by the European Diisocyanate & Polyol Producers Association (ISOPA) and the European Aliphatic Isocyanates Producer Association (ALIPA), a platform has been created to offer said training. While not currently mandatory, it is essential for companies to determine if their products contain enough diisocyanate to require training. Other factors that must be accounted for are the associated costs and which staff members will be eligible for training given their experience and qualifications. As training is to be provided for all European Union member countries, language availability must also be considered. Companies will need to plan employee training around the schedule for the release of different European languages.
While the foam and adhesive supply chains undoubtedly already take the health and safety of their employees seriously, the upcoming regulatory change will standardise training across the board. It is imperative to ensure the minimum training standards are being met to avoid penalisation.