Uncontrolled exposure to isocyanates during paint spraying operations

A car retailer operating across the South East of England has been fined after a car bodywork sprayer developed occupational asthma.

West Hampshire Magistrates heard that, between October 2011 and March 2018, the employee was spraying using paints containing isocyanates without adequate controls measures in place.

Isocyanates are classed as substances hazardous to health and exposure can lead to the development of asthma with serious life-changing effects.

Spray booth and suitable air-fed RPE needed

HSE investigators found the company failed to ensure adequate control measures were in place to minimise exposure to paints containing isocyanates, therefore exposing the employee to the risk of asthma.

  • Harwoods Limited – of Liverpool Gardens, Worthing pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and have been fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,657.55.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Nicola Pinckney said:

“This serious health condition could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing correct control measures and appropriate working practices.

Controlling employee exposure to hazardous substances is a legal requirement on employers and HSE provides guidance on how control can be achieved.

Appropriate controls could include use of a spray booth to carry out the paint spraying, use of a suitable air-fed respirator, checks to ensure equipment was adequately maintained and training provided to ensure the employee knew the risks and how to control them.”