Isopa: Workshop on safe use and handling of chemicals in the PU industry in Africa and the Middle-East
On 24 September 2019, the European Diisocyanate and Polyol Producers Association Isopa held a “One Step Ahead” (OSA) workshop in Casablanca, Morocco, with close to 80 participants from the polyurethane industry in Africa and the Middle-East to explain and promote the safe use and handling of chemical raw materials. According to Isopa, polyurethane manufacturing is a dynamic sector of the African economy, generating wealth and employment. The workshop is the latest addition to its long-standing product stewardship efforts in the region to ensure a consistent, industry-wide implementation of health and safety measures, said the association.
Since the first seminar in Kenya in 1998, the “One Step Ahead” programme has helped manufacturers be more responsible by educating them about procedures that ensure the safe use and handling of di-isocyanates in the work place. Over the past four years, since the last OSA workshop in Casablanca in 2015, it is clear that awareness on safe handling of di-isocyanates has increased and people realise more and more the significant impact of safety precautions on both human health and on their business.
The full day session in Casablanca included Isopa representatives Jörg Palmersheim (Secretary General Isopa), Jaume Heras (BASF), Hervé Wuilay (Dow), Nóra Janosik (Borsodchem) and Els Van Eetvelde (Shell Chemicals) and was received with enthusiasm from the participating polyurethane foam manufacturers and traders. The workshop was attended by close to 80 participants from the Northern Africa region, like Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, etc. representing various sectors of the polyurethane industry, including mattress and moulded seat producers. The workshop was dynamic and interactive, and emphasised safety requirements for di-isocyanate use and handling, including the use of personnel protective equipment (PPE), the precautionary measures required for exothermic temperature management, etc. Participants were provided visual aids (posters) to be used in the factories, which explain the safe use and best practice procedures of di-isocyanates.