Environment

At Austin Hayes we are dedicated to minimising our environmental impact. We have made a commitment to reducing waste, recycling where possible and to the safe disposal of contaminated agents; being passionate about preserving our environment and taking all measure possible to achieve this. Read more about our environmental commitments below.

Austin Hayes Environmental Commitments:

  • To comply with all relevant environmental legislation, regulations and approved codes of practice.
  • To protect the environment by striving to prevent and minimise the Company’s contribution to pollution of the land, air and water.
  • To seek to keep wastage to a minimum and maximise the efficient use of materials and resources.
  • To the management and disposal of all waste in a responsible manner.
  • To provide training for Company staff so that everyone works in accordance with this policy and within an environmentally aware culture.
  • To regularly communicate the Company’s environmental performance to all of our stakeholders.
  • To continually develop the Company’s management process to ensure that environmental factors are considered during planning and implementation.
  • To monitor and continuously improve the Company’s environmental performance.

How We Uphold Our Commitments:

  • The continuous monitoring of all our emissions
  • Using world class filtration systems for metal spray facilities and shot blasting
  • Implementing procedures to ensure no leakage possible into the ground including bunded paint stores and diesel tanks
  • Recycling all waste wherever possible including the recycling of waste paint & solvent for re-use
  • Safely disposing of contaminated waste products through accredited agents
  • The use of water wash spray booths to capture airborne spray paint and processes to de-nature the paint

Polyurethane Isocyanate Paints – why we won’t use them:

We believe that our employees should be able to work in a safe environment where they are not exposed to dangerous chemicals and substances. If exposure cannot be avoided then we will protect our employees to the highest degree required, but in this case we do not believe there is any value in undertaking such high level protection, when it is possible to remove the risk completely.

What are the risks?

Irritation
Hypersensitivity
Sensitization
Pneumonitis
Asthma
Death

▢ There are no guaranteed safe exposure limits to isocyanate, and a single exposure can trigger the conditions.

▢ If one of the conditions has been triggered, the worker is then hyper sensitive to future exposures, and can be left with a permanent condition.

Why you need to avoid them – When you use isocyanate paint you are exposing everyone in that working environment to the health risks above. Full protective measures are recommended for any painting area greater than 10 cm², including brush/roller touch-up in work shops. Isocyanates may become the next asbestos scandal, with lawyers pursuing companies for compensation for paint sprayers and any other employee exposed.

There is also the added consideration that cured polyurethane paint if exposed to fire or high heat can release cyanide containing compounds, amongst other substances.

What is the alternative – Isocyanate cured polyurethane is a toxic paint that can be successfully substituted for by an acrylic epoxy finish. Both are UV stable gloss finishes, and offer equivalent life service. As acrylic epoxies don’t have any toxic health issues, it is a substitution we actively recommend. In accordance with health and safety best practice we suggest that this substitution is the most effective exposure control, rather than using engineering controls, or protective equipment and having employees subject to regular medical surveillance for isocyanate exposure.

Raising awareness – The oil industry is starting to support polyurethane substitution by acrylic epoxy finishes, with specifications from Statoil, ConocoPhillips and Total currently banning polyurethanes completely.

It is important that this dialogue regarding the use of isocyanate paints is conducted at the time of accepting new work or before formal acceptance of the customer’s purchase order. Concessions are less easy to obtain once work has been placed.

When better informed on the dangers of isocyanate paints, the vast majority of end users will accept recommended alternative paints. However, we must accept that there will be special circumstances when their removal/substitution cannot be universal.

Moreover, there is still little current awareness in many supply chains regarding isocyanates, and we can help you by supplying technical support and information on alternative products. Otherwise many employees will continue to be exposed to this serious danger. It must be our shared corporate responsibility to protect all our employees by removing isocyanates whenever possible from the supply chain.

Additional reading:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/mvr/bodyshop/isocyanates.htm
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/96-111/
http://www.stc-law.com/wcasthma.html

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