Between 2016 and 2026, HVAC employment rates are expected to rise 15%. With more workers comes more bodies that need protection during various home heating, cooling, and ventilation projects. Spray foam insulation is one HVAC-related project that can be potentially dangerous without proper safety precautions.
When installing spray foam, high pressures and various chemicals can make the job unsafe without proper equipment. Even professional spray foam installers need to be careful when working with spray insulation. Becoming too comfortable around spray foam guns and spray foam chemicals can result in unfortunate accidents and injuries.
Use this guide to protective gear to ensure that your body, skin, lungs, and eyes are all protected from harm while installing spray foam insulation:
- GlovesWearing gloves protects the hands and fingers from skin irritation after contact with chemicals. Look for gloves that fit well but still leave a little space for movement. The best gloves for spray foam installation are made with nitrile, neoprene, butyl rubber or PVC. Whether you’re dealing with open cell spray foam, closed cell spray foam, or any material in between, gloves are an absolute must.
- GogglesThe eyes are extremely sensitive organs and should be protected during any insulation project. When working with closed or open cell spray foam chemicals, be sure that eyes are protected from chemical splashes, accidental sprays, aerosols and air particles by wearing safety goggles. Goggles or glasses should have wrap-around lenses to protect the sides of the eyes as well.
- Respiratory ProtectionClosed and open cell spray foam projects tend to fill the air with spray particles that only settle after the project is complete. Air purifying respirators or pump systems that bring clean air from other areas to the workers are essential for protecting the lungs. Whichever you choose, remember to keep the lung protection on whenever in the vicinity of the newly-sprayed foam. Different protections are appropriate for different jobs, so be sure to research and use the correct lung protection for each project.
- ClothingIt is good practice to ensure all skin is covered while working with spray foam. Look for bodysuits that offer full protection from the spray to prevent chemical irritations. Many suits offer hoods that protect the head and neck as well.
- Hard HatFinally, when working with high-pressure spray foam or when working on roofing jobs, head protection is essential in preventing dangerous head injuries. Look for helmets that can accommodate other safety gear, like eye protection, and be sure that workers wear hard hats at all times during projects.
Remember to put safety first. Use this guide to stay safe during all of your insulation projects.