New OSHA program protects workers from isocyanate exposure

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a new national emphasis program (NEP) to protect workers from serious health effects caused by occupational exposure to isocyanates.

OSHA develops NEPs to focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in an industry for a three-year period. Through this NEP, OSHA will make efforts to reduce occupational illnesses and deaths by focusing on construction, maritime industries that use isocyanate compounds and workplaces in general.

Isocyanates are chemicals used in materials such as paints, varnishes, auto body repair and building insulation and can cause occupational asthma; irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat; and cancer.