Health risks from working in motor vehicle repair (MVR) can include exposure to isocyanate paints during spraying and exposure to lead and harmful dusts in some body preparation operations. Finishing by powered discing and sanding can release high concentrations of fine dust, which is a serious health hazard.
Isocyanate (typically in 2-pack paints) is the most common cause of occupational asthma. It can also cause dermatitis. It affects workers spraying 2-pack (2 k) isocyanate paints in motor vehicle repair and in motor and semi-trailer manufacture. Hardening agents in fillers can be skin irritants. Fume from welding, flame cutting and other ‘hot work’ varies greatly and may cause dryness of the throat, tickling, coughing, tightness of the chest and difficulty in breathing. Long-term changes in the lung are possible. Harmful fumes and gases during welding in MVR include those from primer and paint layers, other surface coatings such as underseal, and from lead in car bodies.
To minimise the number of people exposed to dust and fume, separate the body filling and preparation area from other work. Keep dust to a minimum. For powered discing and sanding, use tools with built-in extraction or local exhaust ventilation. When welding use a mobile extraction unit with flexible exhaust hood and trunking, wherever possible, and always in confined spaces.