On 4 August 2020, the European Union published the REACH Restriction on diisocyanates which will introduce mandatory training requirements for workers using diisocyanates from 24 August 2023.
The EU REACH Restriction process for diisocyanates started in 2016 when the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) submitted a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). ECHA delivered its opinion to the European Commission in 2018 on the measure, finding that mandatory training is the most appropriate, protective and effective EU-wide risk management measure to reduce occupational asthma cases among workers who deal with diisocyanates.
The Industry agrees with ECHA’s assessment that the Restriction is the most effective and efficient measure to enhance occupational health and safety. Jörg Palmersheim, Secretary General for ISOPA/ALIPA, said: “The Restriction is the culmination of years of constructive cooperation between the diisocyanates value-chains and the European REACH Authorities. It raises the bar for how we can work together to enhance protection of workers and ensure the use of best practices across the EU in terms of health and safety. We now look forward to ensure the successful implementation of the Restriction together with the downstream users and Member States.”
The Restriction establishes requirements for the use and placing on the market of diisocyanates as substances on their own, as a constituent in other substances or in mixtures for industrial and professional use(s) in concentrations above 0,1% by weight.
The new REACH Restriction has brought new requirements for companies placing diisocyanates on the market and their users in Europe. As part of the provisions, all industrial and professional users will need to get trained for the safe use of diisocyanates. The legal text foresees three different levels of training (general, intermediate and advanced) depending on the tasks done by the employee. In order to train the workforce across the European Union, ISOPA/ALIPA have launched a digital platform.
On www.safeusediisocyanates.eu, users can find all the necessary material to be trained according to the REACH requirements. The platform offers around 30 training paths based on PU applications, including three videos on sensitization, personal protective equipment and first aid. The content will be available in all the official languages of EU Member States by the end of 2022. There are different options to complete the training. Users can register online for self-eLearning, or they can register to classroom trainings either online or in person. For larger organizations, there is the option to create an administrative account and register multiple employees easily and centralize all the administrative tasks. Finally, there is also an option to register as a trainer to organize training sessions themselves.