The event is aimed at owners and managers of bodyshops as well as paint sprayers. There will be presentations on the latest safety equipment, information about the risks, and advice on health checks.
Spraying 2-pack isocyanate paints is the biggest cause of occupational asthma in the UK and can lead to long-term disability and life-threatening illness. MVR paint sprayers have 80 times the risk of getting asthma compared with the UK working population in general.
Once someone is sensitised to isocyanates any further exposure to even very small amounts can start an asthma attack. In addition, the attacks may be delayed for up to 12 hours after exposure leading suffers to initially put their symptoms down to other causes and risk further exposure. Other health risks include dermatitis and conjunctivitis.
The fine airbourne paint mist is not visible under normal lighting and workers may not be aware of the risk. Safety measures such as spray booths, respiratory protective equipment and coveralls, and hand and eye protection should used. If inadequately controlled, the mist and vapours can also spread beyond the immediate work area putting the health of other people such as office workers and members of the public at risk.
In one case, when the HSE measured the isocyanate exposure of workers in a large bodyshop, they found that the most highly exposed person was the receptionist. This was due to the booths becoming pressurised and leaking badly, spreading the spray throughout the premises.
Even when the correct equipment is in place, workers must be trained to use it properly. A paint sprayer worked in a spray space and wore air-fed breathing apparatus, but after spraying he would routinely flip up his visor to check on paint coverage allowing no time for the fine mist to clear. Neither he nor his GP made the connection between his asthma and exposure to isocyanates at work. He soldiered on until he could no longer work, by then he was unable to walk no more than 20 yards before resting and was unemployed.
MVP Paint Spraying Health and Safety Event
On: Friday, November 10, 2006
Time: 9.00 to 12.30 and 13.00 to 17.00
At: the College of North West London, Willesden Centre, Dudden Hill Lane, Willesden, London, NW10 2XD