|Composites Design and Manufacture (Plymouth University teaching support materials)
Health and Safety
This H+S briefing is available to all interested parties via Plymouth Extra.
Next session: Friday 03 February 2017 at 16:00-17:00 in Robbins SR1.
If you would like to attend, please e-mail John Summerscales.
Go direct to Product Data Sheets and Material Safety Data Sheets
or Fibres - Health and Safety
Safety in Manufacturing Plastics and Composites
Required viewing before using Brunel 007 laboratory:
The key points to remember:
Before you commence work in the laboratory, you should:
A collaboration between Composites UK (the trade association for the UK composites industry) and HSE UK (Health and Safety Executive) has developed an online health and safety management system (HSMS). The HSMS is in two parts:
Product Data Sheets and Material Safety Data Sheets
|Resin System||Product Data Sheet||Material Safety Data Sheets|
|CEFIC unsaturated polyester and epoxy vinyl ester||Safe Handling Guides (14 sections - 6 languages)|
|Cytec Cycom® 977-2 Toughened Epoxy Resin||977-2|
|EasyComposites IP2 isophthalic polyester resin for vacuum resin infusion||IP2||IP2|
|Gurit (SP Systems) AMPREG 21 epoxy wet laminating system||AMPREG 21||AMPREG 21|
|Gurit (SP Systems) AMPREG 22 epoxy wet laminating system||AMPREG 22||AMPREG 22|
|Gurit (SP Systems) AMPREG 26 epoxy laminating system||AMPREG 26||AMPREG 26|
|Gurit (SP Systems) PRIME 20LV epoxy infusion system||PRIME 20LV||PRIME 20LV|
|Scott Bader Crystic 701PAX pre-accelarated isophthalic polyester resin for vacuum injection||701PAX|
|Scott Bader Crystic 703PA polyester resin for vacuum injection||703PA|
|Scott Bader Crystic 785PA(LR) pre-accelerated DCPD-based polyester resin for RTM||785PA(LR)|
|Sicomin SR 5550 wood epoxy system||SR5500||Resin Hardener SD5505|
|Sicomin SR 8100 epoxy system for injection and infusion||SR8100||SR8100 SD8734 SD8822 SD8824|
|Torayca T300 230 GPa "baseline carbon fiber used in aerospace applications"||T300||H&S|
|Torayca M60J 588 GPa "high modulus fiber .. for premium sporting goods, aerospace, and industrial applications"||M60J||H&S|
|Preimpregnated reinforcements||Product Data Sheet||Material Safety Data Sheets|
|Cytec Cycom® 950-1 carbon fibre/epoxy prepreg||950-1|
|Cytec Cycom® 977-2 carbon fibre/epoxy prepreg||977-2|
|Rohacell® RIST polymethacrylimide foam||RIST||Rohacell environment and safety|
|Tricast 2 low density rigid polyurethane foam||TR2||Tricast/Tancast/MHD PU foam|
|Tricast 6 Lloyds Approved rigid polyurethane high density foam||TR6||Tricast/Tancast/MHD PU foam|
|Chem Trend Chemlease 15 Mold Sealet||Chemlease 15||Chemlease 15|
|Loctite Frekote 700-NC releasing interface||Frekote 700-NC||Frekote 700-NC|
The Health and Safety Executive have an online
COSHH Essentials webpage.
The University of Reading - Plant Sciences website has a useful online COSHH Chemicals database.
Styrene - see Reduction of styrene in the environment and the workplace
Fibres - health and safety
"There is debate about the hazards associated with glass fibre but currently none of the other [acrylic or polyester] reinforcements are known to be harmful" .
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have adopted threshold limit values (TLV)
for man-made mineral fibres during an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA)
These control limits correspond to the TLVs for nuisance dust. Care should be taken during the handling of reinforcements to ensure that these levels are not exceeded. Atmospheric monitoring and control measures may be required. General methods for dust sampling are outlined by the HSE . Where exposure to fibre dust cannot be reduced by control measures (dust suppression or local exhaust ventilation), then suitable respiratory protective equipment should be provided [3, 4].
Broken fibres may cause irritation to sensitive areas of skin. Personal cleanliness, keeping dry and careful working habits are the best ways to prevent skin irritation. The use of a barrier cream, talcum powder or protective clothing (which does not induce perspiration) can be helpful. Thorough washing and rinsing should remove loose filaments . Irritation of the upper respiratory tract is also possible. Fibres of <3μm diameter and <200μm length are classified as respirable .
A report  from DuPont research has suggested that lung tumours can occur in rats exposed to aramid fibres at concentrations over 250 times that in a typical composites workplace. No specific reactions were recorded at lower densities. Dr John Davis of the Institute of Occupational Medicine noted that the rat inhalation studies "were only possible because great ingenuity was used to break up the material and to keep it airborne" .
Carbon fibres are electrically conductive and can cause electrical hazard and equipment failure. Electrical equipment should be located remote from potential carbon fibre contamination, should be constructed to be immune to carbon dust, or special procedures (positive pressure of filtered air) must be adopted [5, 9]
The use of fibrous reinforcements in industry should be quite safe, but prudent factory management should always include frequent counts of respirable fibre levels to ensure that they remain low. No factory should use fibrous materials without routine checks on the levels of respirable fibres generated. If the levels of respirable fibres are negligible, then the health hazards should be negligible as well.