An estimated 40% of the energy in your building may be lost due to poor air filtration. This energy loss means you may incur more expenses when running your heating or air conditioning. But instead of paying more for HVAC energy bills, homeowners and business owners can hire a spray foam systems rig and apply spray polyurethane foam (SPF) to seal and insulate a building’s air envelope for better comfort.
This article presents to you the necessary safety precautions that you should take when using spray foam rigs to apply SPF to avoid exposing yourself to toxic isocyanates in SPF.
What Are the Dangers of SPF Spraying?
SPF is a reliable air sealant and insulation material applied by a spray foam systems rig. But SPF contains harmful isocyanates and other chemicals found in its aerosols, vapors, and dust. These chemicals pose adverse health risks upon exposure. The chemicals can affect building occupants, applicators, and their helpers.
These chemicals can exacerbate or cause asthma, lung damage, eye and skin irritation, and other breathing problems. Here are safety tips on how to avoid such occurrences.
1. Make proper preparations for your SPF spraying
Do you know intricate details about the SPF products you’ll use? You should always read the Safety Data Sheet (S.D.S.) from the SPF products’ manufacturers, as well as all container labels, to understand how to use the SPF chemicals. The tags will show you the directions of use, the ingredients, and the potential hazards and precautions that you should take.
You should also store your spray foam chemicals and spray foam equipment in safe places with controlled access. Before starting your project, you should have all applicators and their assistants checked by a health specialist. The checks determine whether they’re fit to wear respirators and work on your site.
2. Provide spray foam training to your applicators and their assistants
It’s prudent to ensure that all SPF applicators and their assistants know how to handle SPF chemicals and the spray foam systems rig. They should also know the dangers of exposure to SPF chemicals.
3. Prepare and isolate your site
Will your SPF application take place in an occupied building or a new building under construction? It’s always ideal to vacate and separate the worksite. This process prevents occupants in adjacent rooms and floors from getting exposed to isocyanate contaminants.
4. Ensure all workers have protective gear and knowledge of their usage
You should provide all applicators and their helpers with proper personal protective equipment (P.P.E.) for the workplace. The workers should wear this equipment when using a spray foam systems rig or when scraping or cutting the foam. Some of the P.P.E. equipment required include spray suits, gloves, and respirators.
5. Clean the working area after application and trimming
You should clean up the site and spray foam rigs after project completion. The cleaning avoids exposing the incoming unprotected occupants to isocyanate residues.
6. Observe the re-entry and re-occupancy times
You should observe the re-entry and re-occupancy times. These times are the safe periods within which workers or building occupants can come into a working site without protection. Adhering to such times minimizes potential exposure to isocyanate contaminants after SPF application and curing. The factors that determine re-entry and re-occupancy periods include the degree of ventilation, humidity, temperature, and the formulation of the SPF used.
7. Establish disposal and spill response for SPF chemicals
You’ll need to dispose of the SPF chemical remnants as well as other waste materials, which may include primers, coatings, oils, and solvents. Always adhere to the recommended disposal requirements set by the manufacturers of such chemicals or the environmental protection agency (E.P.A.) in your locality. If there are any spills of SPF chemicals or other chemicals used alongside the SPFs, you should follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to handle spills to prevent environmental contamination.
A spray foam systems rig can help you in applying SPF to prevent air filtration and insulate a building to foster better indoor comfort. But you have to be cautious when using SPF chemicals because they contain harmful isocyanates that can cause health problems. As such, adhere to the recommended safety tips to avert any potential harm of SPF chemicals.