Certain chemicals, called sensitizers, can cause a substantial proportion of workers to develop an allergic reaction in normal tissue after repeated exposure. As a result, the immune system reacts to a harmless substance as if it were toxic. Symptoms range from minor skin rashes to dangerous respiratory complications. Ill effects can be minimized by the following:
• Identify sensitizing chemicals used at the facility. Check the safety data sheet on all chemicals for possible allergic reactions.
• Substitute a non sensitizer when possible.
• Educate employees on the effects of these chemicals.
• For skin sensitizers provide PPE such as gloves and protective clothing.
• For respiratory sensitizers such as isocyanates provide ventilation and appropriate respiratory protection and regular medical monitoring for those who use them.
• Monitor levels of employee exposure.
• Provide emergency response for an allergic reaction.