To make a composite part, resins (which start off as liquids) are cured to form a solid matrix. Composite fabricators must know the hazards of each chemical used in this process. In particular, they must be vigilant with highly reactive chemicals such as catalysts and curing agents that can react with the human body in a harmful way.
The reinforcing fibres in composites may seem mostly harmless. However, during the fabrication of a composite part, these fibres are often cut, sanded and ground. This forms fine dust particles and short fibres that can be irritating to the skin. To save going home each day itching, personal protective equipment can be worn.
As well as the resin and reinforcing fibres, there are many chemicals used in fabrication. These include cleaning products and mould release agents. Solvents are often used in these products to allow them to work effectively. Fabricators must be aware of these solvents and take measures to avoid their hazards.
Many of the chemicals used in composite fabrication are flammable, some are corrosive and some are toxic.
The most commonly used components are listed in the menu at left. These links will provide you with:
- General information
- Special protection information
- Effects of exposure
- First aid procedures
- Spill or leak procedures
- Fire extinguisher procedures
- Storage and handling procedures
Work safely – know the products you use!
KEY to abbreviations
CNS: Central Nervous System EPA: Environmental Protection Authority NOHSC:National Occupational Health & Safety Commission (Worksafe Australia) PVC: Polyvinyl chloride SA:Standards Australia
Facts and information reported within the Health & Safety section of this website are believed by Composites Australia to be accurate at the date of publication. No responsibility is accepted by Composites Australia for the use or misuse of information on these pages. Composites Australia accepts no responsibility for damage or injury caused by information or omissions contained on these pages.