Safety Precautions when Using Epoxy

Even when using modern solvent-free epoxies such as ours, it is still possible to become sensitised to the epoxy components. Although epoxies vary in constituents, the following is a general useful guide aimed at the amateur occasional user, which if followed, can help reduce the chances of sensitisation.

Sensitivity usually manifests itself as a type of dermatitis with red sores appearing on forearms, wrists and hands. Once a person is sensitised there is nothing that can be done about it and the rashes will appear whenever there is exposure to epoxy components, getting worse with each exposure.

There are two common ways to become sensitised:

  1. Coating skin with liquid epoxy components
  2. Breathing in, or covering the skin in the dust when sanding cured or partially-cured epoxy.

Of the two the latter is the surest way to become sensitised.

Since we began supplying our solvent-free epoxies in 1999, no-one in our workshops has become sensitised to epoxy because we take strict precautions. The precautions we strongly recommend are as follows:

When applying epoxy:

  1. Wear long sleeved tops and long trousers
  2. Wear shoes and socks since epoxy will drip onto feet
  3. Wear disposable vinyl gloves
  4. Tape over the joint between the gloves and the sleeve if necessary
  5. Take care not to rub the wrist with the dirty fingers of the other hand when removing gloves
  6. Wash any splashes with warm soapy water as soon as possible
  7. Never use solvents

When sanding:

  1. Never use solvents
  2. Wear long sleeved tops and long trousers and consider wearing coveralls
  3. Wear shoes and socks
  4. Wear a dust mask
  5. Wear a hood or hat and scarf
  6. Wear gloves
  7. Reduce the area of exposed skin to a minimum
  8. Wash dust off skin and hair as soon as convenient
  9. Wash clothing after each exposure

Please contact us if you require further advice or clarification.