This is a discussion about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) three year National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Occupational Exposure to Isocyanates that was issued on June 20, 2013, to identify and reduce or eliminate the incidence of adverse health effects associated with occupational exposure to isocyanates.

Through a combination of targeted enforcement and outreach efforts OSHA has raised the awareness of the occurrence and severity of occupational health hazards related to or associated with isocyanates in all industry sectors. This paper will document the enforcement efforts OSHA has made in General Industry, the need for the NEP on isocyanates, summarize how OSHA implemented the isocyanate NEP in the workplace, and provide resources for PPE selection.

As of the publication of this paper OSHA had not extended the effective date beyond the original three-year end date of June 20, 2016. Regardless of whether OSHA extends the effective date beyond June 20, 2016, this paper will serve as a resource guide to those who experience isocyanate exposure in the workplace. This paper will highlight:

  • Need for NEP

  • Health effects of isocyanate exposure

  • Summary of NEP

  • OSHA enforcement efforts

  • Corrective action to reduce exposure

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) selection resources

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