Personal Protective Equipment for Spray Foam Contractors
Spray Foam Insulation Safety Practices and Procedures for a Safe Working Environment
Safety should always be your number one priority when working. The importance of keeping yourself and other employees safe on the job site and in the shop can’t be overstressed.
Spray polyurethane foam is safe only when following the right procedures and using approved personal protective equipment (PPE). Personal protective equipment (PPE) and safe practices are always your first line of defense against workplace accidents involving spray foam. Establishing and maintaining safety policies, backed by regular safety training can help ensure safe work practices are followed at all times.
Spray foam toxicity
Spray polyurethane foam toxicity can cause contact and inhalation injuries if not properly protected against. Preventing inhalation of spray foam chemicals, as well as preventing eye and skin contact with these chemicals before the foam is fully cured, is critically important. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for SPF chemicals are excellent sources of information regarding hazards and safe handling requirements.
What to know before spraying begins
Before starting any spray foam job
Always conduct a PPE evaluation to determine the safety requirements and how to best meet them over the course of the project. PPE likely to be required for every project includes respiratory protection, eye and face protection, protective clothing and chemical-resistant gloves.
As an added level of safety, and in case something does go wrong, additional safety equipment is highly recommended for every spray foam job. This includes an eyewash station loaded with fresh water, a first-aid kit, and fire extinguisher.
On a spray foam job, who needs to be protected?
In general, PPE is required for spray foam applicators, those who assist them and any other workers in close proximity, in adjacent areas, or who may need to enter a foam application work area before the foam has fully cured. Use tape, signs, or other appropriate methods to restrict workplace access until the level of airborne chemical concentrations are below acceptable exposure limits. If you are uncertain about spray foam cure rates and reentry times for workers, residents or others, ask your supplier for more detailed information. Never take a chance or make a guess about cure times as spray polyurethane foam formulations aren’t consistent.
An effective safety training program can help ensure employees understand the importance of PPE and what is needed to work safely, including how to select and properly use PPE. Ill-fitting PPE won’t adequately protect the wearer, and can provide a false sense of security.
All workers should be trained on the proper ways to fit, operate, put on and remove PPE. Training should also include maintenance procedures, and how to safely dispose of protective clothing and equipment to meet local and/or state requirements.