A Safer Workplace
ACC’S alliance with OSHA looks to deliver safety guidance
Thursday, September 16, 2021
by: Alexandra Peck, ACC

Section: Features

Worker and workplace safety has, and always will be, a top priority for the American Chemistry Council (ACC). In an effort to further assist employers with keeping workers as safe as possible while on the job, ACC’s Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI), and the Diisocyanates (DII) and Aliphatic Diisocyanates (ADI) panels formed a voluntary Alliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This ACC OSHA Alliance aims to foster safer and more healthful American workplaces that handle diisocyanate chemistry along the polyurethane value chain.

Since the Alliance’s inception in 2017, we have enjoyed many successes, from providing education and training, to raising awareness of OSHA’s national rulemaking and initiatives. Last September, CPI and the ADI and DII panels signed a five-year renewal of the Alliance. Through the course of these next five years, we hope to further build on these past successes.

So … What Does The ACC OSHA Alliance Do?

The ACC OSHA Alliance’s main objective is to provide members, occupational physicians, stakeholders and others within the polyurethane value chain with the necessary information, guidance, and access to training resources to help further protect the health and safety of workers on the jobsite.

This is achieved through two primary avenues: raising awareness of OSHA’s national rulemaking and initiatives; and conducting training to educate employers, workers and OSHA officials on safe use and handling of diisocyanates throughout the polyurethane value chain.

Workplace Safety Resources and Guidance Documents

Since its formation in 2017, the Alliance has developed important guidance documents focused on personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations for automotive coating applications, and medical screening and surveillance guidance for workers and employers.

These documents explain that – with proper workplace practices, appropriate use of PPE and engineering controls, and proper worker training and medical surveillance programs – diisocyanates can be handled safely throughout a myriad of applications.

Connecting OSHA to the Value Chain

The Alliance seeks to connect the polyurethane value chain to OSHA’s experts. We are able to accomplish this by inviting safety professionals from OSHA’s Regional and Area Offices to speak at industry and value chain meetings.

Since 2018, CPI has partnered with OSHA to host a booth at the SPFA SPRAY FOAM SHOW. By connecting both OSHA Compliance Assistance Professionals and OSHA Enforcement Officers to conference attendees, SPF workers have been able to have candid conversations, ask direct questions, and receive tips about OSHA safety regulations.

In 2020, the Alliance connected with Tim Irving, deputy director of the OSHA Directorate of Construction, who presented an ACC webinar on worker safety considerations for the wider insulation and construction industries in the polyurethane value chain.

We also regularly promote OSHArelated health and safety topics by circulating guidance and other resources via social media and through OSHA’s annual events, including Safe and Sound Week and National Safety Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

Building Relationships Across Sectors

The Alliance’s relationship-building efforts go beyond just cultivating relationships with OSHA.

With construction worker safety as one core focus of the OSHA Alliance Program, ACC’s CPI, DII and ADI Panels have been able to connect directly with other construction industry trade groups at the OSHA Alliance Construction Roundtable to collaborate on the common goal of keeping workers safe.

These relationships allow us to draw attention to other Alliance partners on our workplace guidance materials that are of interest to shared constituents, which has led to the placement of our PPE infographic for auto refinishers in the National Safety Council’s online Safety and Health Magazine. In addition, our collaboration with Alliance partner Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR) led to the development of an instructional video for workers in the automotive refinishing industry.

What’s Next for the ACC OSHA Alliance?

Over these next five years, we hope to build upon our past achievements, develop new relationships, and connect directly with workers within the polyurethane value chain to continue to serve as a resource for worker and workplace safety.

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