Epoxy consists opt strong chemicals with effective adhesive properties. Care should thus be taken to avoid contamination or injury in epoxy application. This requires measures to be taken before epoxy use as well as during its application and this applies not only to epoxy in its runny state but also when finishing or shaping hardened epoxy.
Prior to epoxy work, you should ensure that your work environment is not cramped and is well-ventilated. Inhalation of epoxy chemicals and eye contact are serious risks as is the chance that their aggressive reactions will cause skin rashes and irritation on direct contact. Forced draft ventilation at work points where vapours are generated is critical when working with curing formulated epoxy compounds. Vapours should be drawn away from the workspace and vented externally. Vapour extraction should not draw fumes in the direction of a worker’s face.
Wear long sleeved tops, long trousers, shoes and socks to avoid the drip factor. Also wear disposable vinyl gloves, taping over the joint between the gloves and the sleeve if necessary as well as a dusk mask to limit inhalation of fumes. Protective eye wear is essential, as eye contact with epoxy chemicals can have devastating results.
Never use solvents, especially when chemical reactions between epoxy and solvents is unknown. Take care not to cause direct contact with naked skin by contaminated gloves when removing gloves or adjusting your clothing. Wash any such contact points with warm soapy water as soon as skin contamination occurs.
When sanding or abrading hardened epoxy, never use solvents and avoid dust inhalation and wash dust out of hair and off skin as soon as possible after you’ve finished. Personal cleanliness is essential and washing of exposed areas should take place in event of splash incidents, during breaks and at completion of epoxy application.
Work areas should be kept free of spillages and splashes and these should be cleaned up as they occur. Floors and surfaces should be protected by protective disposable sheeting and protection wear such as masks, gloves and stirrers should be disposable after use.
Mix well-estimated quantities of two-part epoxies – it is pointless and risky to mix more than you need. Do not use epoxy containers for any other purpose after use and ensure that they are properly disposed of.
Hands and other exposed areas should be covered with a protective cosmetic cream to limit stripping natural protective layers on the skin. Wash affected eyes immediately with soapy water continuously for not less than ten minutes, using copious amounts of rinse water. Apply saline solution to the eyes also and seek professional medical attention if eye contamination is severe.
Be sure, prior to commencement of work to familiarise yourself with the chemicals’ technical data sheets as well as Material Safety Data Sheets that apply.
Should all of these guidelines be adhered to, you should have a productive and successful epoxy application experience.