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Erin Dickison

Aliphatic diisocyanate (ADI) producers have a long history of providing safe handling information to customers through Safety Data Sheets (SDS). For example, SDS, formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), provide information about important health and safety topics, including:

  • Potential hazards, how to protect against them, and steps to take in an emergency.
  • Occupational exposure limits (OELs), including permissible exposure limits (PELs).
  • Handling, storage, transportation, spills, and disposal advice.
  • Regulatory information such as Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) classification and labeling.

Obtaining A Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

A SDS can be obtained upon request from the ADI producer. In addition, containers are labeled with appropriate hazard warning information. Similarly, during transportation, appropriate Hazard Communication (HazCom) signs and labels are used on trucks, tank cars, containers, and during marine transportation.

Worker Safety and Occupational Exposure Levels

Worker safety is of utmost importance. Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) are intended to set the airborne concentrations of substances to which workers can be exposed on a daily basis without significant risk of adverse effects from the material. OELs are normally set for an eight hour day and are expressed as an eight hour time-weighted average. In many cases, a short-term (15-minute) exposure limit or Ceiling (C) value is also established.

The primary regulatory and professional organizations that establish OELs for airborne aliphatic diisocyanates include:

Note: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not established Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) for aliphatic diisocyanates.

HDMI0.005 (8-hr TWA)0.01 (C)
1,6-HDI0.005 (8-hr TWA)

0.005 (8-hr TWA)
0.020 (STEL)

IPDI0.005 (8-hr TWA)0.005 (8-hr TWA)
0.020 (STEL)


C = Ceiling Limit (concentration that should not be exceeded during any part of the work shift)
TWA = Time Weighted Average (average airborne concentration over an 8-hour work shift)
STEL = Short Term Exposure Limit (15-minute average airborne concentration that should not be exceeded at any time during the work shift)
PPM = parts per million (0.020 ppm is equivalent to 20 parts per billion or 20 ppb; 0.005 ppm is equivalent to 5 ppb)

To learn more about the ADI industry’s steps to protect workers, visit our page on Industrial Hygiene.

General Information about the Revisions to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) was designed to provide employees with information on hazards of all of the chemicals that they may use in the workplace and recommended protective measures. The revised OSHA HCS Final Rule was published March 26, 2012, and took effect May 25, 2012. The HCS was modified to align it with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. As of June 1, 2015, the HCS is requiring compliance with all of the provisions for preparation of new labels and SDS. All covered employers were required to train workers by December 1, 2013, on the new label elements and SDS format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

Whereas the current HCS is a performance-based standard, this update to the HCS will provide a standardized approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and SDS. The revised HCS established specific criteria for each health and physical hazard, along with detailed instructions for hazard classification as to whether mixtures or substances are covered. A chemical will be classified based on the type, the degree, and the severity of the hazard. Once the hazard classification is completed, the standard specifies what information is to be provided for each hazard class and category. Labels will require the following elements: pictogram, signal word, hazard statement and precautionary statement. The revised HCS requires that the information on the SDS follow a 16-section format, which is the same as ANSI standard Z400.1/Z129.1.

Resources: OSHA Hazard Communication Standard

For more information about the modified Hazard Communication Standard and the timeline for its implementation, here are some of the helpful resources provided by OSHA:

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